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Panthers DE Greg Hardy Placed on NFL's Exempt List


iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy agreed to be placed on the NFL’s exempt list Wednesday.  He will be continued to be paid his guaranteed salary of $13.1 million and will be allowed to be at the team facility.

Hardy is awaiting a new trial in North Carolina after appealing a guilty verdict from July on two domestic violence charges.

"I understand that I need to step away from football right now and take care of this legal matter," Hardy said in a statement. "I am entitled to my day in court and that's where my focus should be."

The Panthers selected Hardy out of Mississippi in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL draft.  In 63 games with Carolina, he has 203 tackles and 34 sacks. Last year, he had a career high 15 sacks, earning him his first Pro Bowl selection.

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Vikings' Owner: We Made a Mistake


Andy Lyons/Getty Images(MINNESOTA) -- Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said that the team finally did the right thing in regards to putting running back Adrian Peterson on the exemption list Tuesday.

Wilf and the rest of the Vikings organization believes that they made a mistake reactivating Peterson on Monday, but once major sponsors began to chime in, they did what was right.

The decision comes after the team announced earlier this week that it was reinstating him while the legal process involving charges of child abuse against the running back proceeded.

"We made a mistake and we need to get this right," Wilf said Wednesday. "It is important to always listen to our fans, the community and our sponsors."

"We embrace our role -- and the responsibilities that go with it -- as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community," he continued.

Peterson cooperated during the process and will still get paid during the time he is away from the field.

"Adrian Peterson made a decision to take a voluntary leave with pay to take care of his personal and legal issues," the NFLPA's statement said. "The NFLPA and NFL worked with Adrian and the Minnesota Vikings to resolve this unique situation. We support this decision and hope the best for him and his family."

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FSU Suspends Jameis Winston for First Half of Clemson Game


Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has been suspended for the first half of Saturday's game against Clemson for yelling an obscene sexual phrase on campus Tuesday.

Winston will also undergo "internal discipline" regarding this matter.

"As the university's most visible ambassadors, student-athletes at Florida State are expected to uphold at all times high standards of integrity and behavior that reflect well upon themselves, their families, coaches, teammates, the Department of Athletics and Florida State University," FSU's joint statement said. "Student-athletes are expected to act in a way that reflects dignity and respect for others."

Winston allegedly stood on a table and began to shout obscenities that were mimicking a popular video on the Internet.

"First of all, I want to apologize to the university, my coaches and to my teammates," Winston said. "I'm not a 'me' person, but in that situation, it was a selfish act, and that's not how you do things around here.

"I want to apologize to my teammates because I have now made a selfish act for them. That's all," he concluded.

Sophmore Sean Maguire will start the first half against Clemson.

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NFL, Union Agree to New Drug Policy


Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The NFL and its union announced on Wednesday that they have a new drug policy agreement regarding performance-enhancing drugs, which also includes testing for human growth hormone.

With the new deal in place, three previously suspended players will now be able to play on Sunday for their respective teams.

Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick, and Rams receiver Stedman Bailey can return this weekend.

The new policy is as follows:

  • A first violation of the PED policy will result in a suspension without pay for up to six games depending on violation;
  • Positive tests for diuretics or masking agents will result in a two-game ban;
  • Positive tests for a steroid, stimulant or HGH will result in a four-game ban;
  • Evidence that an attempt was made to manipulate a test result will result in a six-game suspension.
  • Players will receive a 10-game suspension for the second violation and a third will be a two-year suspension.

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Tanaka Will Start Sunday Vs. Blue Jays


Hannah Foslien/Getty Images(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) -- New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to start Sunday in the team's game versus the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 25-year-old rookie from Japan has been out for more than two months after partially tearing his ulnar collateral ligament.

Tanaka threw 65 pitches during a simulated game on Monday and had no setbacks.

Tanaka is coming back because the team wants to make sure he will not need Tommy John surgery.

"More than anything, I want to see if my body is able to go fully on a major-league mound," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "That's by far most important to me. Also, to be able to contribute in the team's win would be something important to me, too."

Yankees skipper Joe Girardi says Tanaka will throw 70-75 pitches against the Blue Jays.

Before getting injured, Tanaka made 18 starts this season, pitching 129 1/3 innings while recording a 2.51 ERA, 135 strikeouts, 19 walks and a 1.01 WHIP.

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Ducks Re-Sign Winger Smith-Pelly


Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Winger Devante Smith-Pelly signed a new two-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday that will keep him with the team through the 2015-16 NHL season.

ESPN.com reports the deal is worth $800,000 per season.

"I’m pretty relieved to get it done," Smith-Pelly said to the team's website. "This is my first process going through something like this, so I wasn’t sure how long it would take. There’s a long process to it. I wasn’t sure if it was going to come this close to camp, but at the same time, I knew something would get done before."

The 22-year-old Smith-Pelly played in 19 regular-season games for the Ducks last season, recording two goals and eight assists.

Smith-Pelly also played in 12 games in the 2014 NHL postseason, leading the Ducks with five goals.

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Josh Gordon Pleads Guilty to DWI Charge


Matt Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while intoxicated in Raleigh, North Carolina, Tuesday.

The charge for the DWI had been pending since July.

According to ESPN NFL insider Ed Werder, Gordon's guilty plea was made with the hope that he can avoid a mandatory two-game suspension, which is one of the new rules that would come into effect when the league and the NFLPA finalize their new drug policy.

After failing a marijuana test, Gordon received a season-long suspension, but under the new drug policy, it's expected the suspension will be reduced to 10 games.

If Gordon can't avoid the two-game suspension for the DWI, he would miss 12 games this season.

In 14 games last season, Gordon caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns.

 

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Vikings Place Peterson on Exempt List


Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Minnesota Vikings have announced that Adrian Peterson has been placed on the NFL’s Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list and will not play this Sunday.

The decision comes after the team announced earlier this week that it was reinstating him while the legal process involving charges of child abuse against the running back proceeded.

The Vikings now say Peterson will not be allowed to participate in any team activities until his legal matters are behind him.

The Vikings issued the following statement:

“This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday’s news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team’s decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson.  In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.”

The statement continues: "We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization. We embrace our role - and the responsibilities that go with it – as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.
 
While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community. Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.
 
We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision."

The statement is signed by team owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf.

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Orioles Clinch AL East for First Time Since 1997


Baltimore Orioles/MLB(BALTIMORE) -- For the first time since 1997, the Baltimore Orioles are the American League East champions.

"It's everything I hoped for, man. It's an awesome experience," Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis, who has played with Baltimore since 2006, said. "We worked hard all season long to get where we are now. We got one step out of the way. Now we have a couple more steps to go."

First baseman Steve Pearce hit a three-run homer to help the Orioles top the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2, giving the O's their ninth win in 10 games.

"We're AL East champs," Pearce said while celebrating in the clubhouse. "Awesome."

It's the ninth time the Orioles have won the division, but only the second time since 1983, when they won the World Series.

Ubaldo Jimenez (5-9) earned the win, pitching five innings and allowing two hits, two runs, and four walks while striking out six.

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Scoreboard Roundup - 9/16/14


Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates 4 (80-70) – Boston Red Sox 0 (66-85)

Baltimore Orioles 8 (91-60) – Toronto Blue Jays 2 (77-73)

New York Mets 9 (73-79) – Miami Marlins 1 (73-77)

Tampa Bay Rays 6 (74-78) – New York Yankees 1 (76-74)

Washington Nationals 3 (87-63) – Atlanta Braves 0 (75-76)

Chicago Cubs 7 (67-84) – Cincinnati Reds 0 (71-81)

Minnesota Twins 4 (64-87) – Detroit Tigers 3 (84-67) 

San Francisco Giants 2 (83-68) - Arizona Diamondbacks 1 (62-89)

Colorado Rockies 10 (60-91) - Los Angeles Dodgers 4 (86-65)

Cleveland Indians 4 (77-73) - Houston Astros 2 (67-84)

Milwaukee Brewers 3 (79-72) - St. Louis Cardinals 2 (83-68) -12 Innings

San Diego Padres 5 (70-80) - Philadelphia Phillies 4 (69-82)

Texas Rangers 6 (58-92) - Oakland Athletics 3 (83-67)

Seattle Mariners 13 (81-69) - Los Angeles Angels 2 (94-57)

Chicago White Sox 7 (69-82) - Kansas City Royals 5 (82-68)

 

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