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Colts Promote Rob Chudzinski to Associate Head Coach


David Lee/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- The Indianapolis Colts have promoted special assistant Rob Chudzinski to associate head coach. 

"We're excited to keep Chud in our family," Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said in a statement. "He's been critical part of our operation and we're looking forward to sharing even more success in the future."

The San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams had been interested in Chudzinski to fill their offensive coordinator positions, according to ESPN, but Colts general manager Ryan Grigson turned down interview requests for the 46-year-old.

Colts defensive end Arthur Jones wrote on Twitter, "Im pretty fired up to hear Coach Chud is coming back. He is such a great man of integrity!"

Chudzinski previously was the head coach for the Browns, compiling a record of 4-12 in his lone season with Cleveland in 2013.

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Orioles Sign Pitcher Bud Norris, Infielder Ryan Flaherty


iStockphoto(BALTIMORE) -- The Baltimore Orioles avoided arbitration with starting pitcher Bud Norris and infielder Ryan Flaherty by agreeing to one-year contracts, the club announced on Monday.

Norris will receive $8.8 million in guaranteed money, according to the Baltimore Sun. Last season, the 29-year-old went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA in 28 starts. He struck out 139 batters and walked 52 in 165 1-3 innings of work.

In 312 at-bats in 2014, the 28-year-old Flaherty batted .221 with seven home runs and 32 RBI. He walked 22 times while striking out 68.

The Orioles won the American League East division crown last year with a record of 96-66. They swept the Detroit Tigers in the AL Divisional round, but fell to the Kansas City Royals in four games in the AL Championship series.

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Patriots Owner Wants Apology if No Findings in Deflate-Gate


iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft says the NFL will owe the team an apology if its investigation into deflated footballs doesn't find any wrongdoing on his team's part.

"If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure on the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team and, in particular, coach [Bill] Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure this past week," Kraft said during an news conference on Monday.

Attorney Ted Wells, along with NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash, are heading up the investigation.

The league found that 11 of the 12 footballs used during the Patriots' 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game were not inflated by the minimum level of 12.5 pounds per square inch, according to ESPN. In that game, Brady passed for 226 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

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Reds Agree to 4-Year Contract with C Devin Mesoraco


Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- The Cincinnati Reds and catcher Devin Mesoraco agreed to a four-year contract extension, the club announced late on Monday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Reds selected Mesoraco with the 15th overall pick in the 2007 MLB amateur draft. Last season, the 26-year-old batted .273 with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs in 440 at-bats. He was named to his first All-Star team in 2014.

"This is another example of rewarding a player we drafted and developed," Cardinals president of baseball operations and general manager Walt Jocketty said in a statement. "We are pleased to be able to sign him for the next four years and expect him to be an integral part of the team."

Mesoraco was set for arbitration this off-season, but his new contract will keep him in Cincinnati through the 2018 season.

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Former NFL Commissioner Tagliabue Critical of Goodell


NFL Shield (NFL)(NEW YORK) -- Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue provided a candid view of the NFL under the leadership of current Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL ownership.

Tagliabue expressed concern for the league and of Goodell in a GQ article that profiles the current commissioner. Among the chief concerns Tagliabue noted was Goodell's obsession with the NFL gaining profit and finding larger revenue streams; even at the expense of the game itself. Goodell has stated that he would like the NFL to be a $25 billion industry by 2027.

There has been an increasingly hostile relationship between Goodell and NFL players. Goodell has handed out uneven punishment to players for on-field and off-field infractions, depending on his attitude towards the offending party. 

Where Goodell handed out Draconian punishments to the New Orleans Saints in the wake of the Bountygate scandal, he seemingly did a favor to the Baltimore Ravens organization by suspending Ray Rice after a domestic violence incident with his now wife, Janay Palmer.  

Tagliabue, who was appointed by Goodell to hear appeals for Bountygate, sees this as a major flaw.

"If they see you making decisions only in economic terms, they start to understand that and question what you're all about," he said. "There's a huge intangible value in peace. There's a huge intangible value in having allies."

Tagliabue served as commissioner from 1989, succeeding Pete Rozelle, through 2006, when Goodell took over.

"We haven't talked much since I left. It's been his decision," said Tagliabue. "Bountygate didn't help."

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Berdych Upsets Nadal In Quarterfinals


iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AUSTRALIA) -- The 2015 Australian Open has had a major upset.

In straight sets, Tomas Berdych defeated No. 3 ranked Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-0, 7-6, Tuesday to move on to the semi-finals.

"I was ready for everything and I think that was the difference," Berdych said. "I started pretty well, but when you're playing Rafa you have to keep going to the last point."

Berdych, a 29-year-old from the Czech Republic, had lost 17-straight times to Nadal.  The 18th time, Berdych was focused, showing little emotion during the match and kept Nadal off balance.

"I'm feeling ok, just was not my day," said Nadal, the 2009 winner of the Australian Open. "I didn't play with the right intensity, the right rhythm and the opponent played better than me."

Berdych will face Andy Murray in the next round. 

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Lance Armstrong: I Would Dope Again


Gary Miller/FilmMagic

(NEW YORK) -- Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted he would cheat again if the circumstances were right.

"If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again because I don't think you have to do it again," Armstong said in an interview with the BBC. "If you take me back to 1995, when it was completely and totally pervasive, I would probably do it again."

Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey in January 2013, after years of denying any wrongdoing, that he did dope while winning seven straight Tour de France championships.

Armstrong blames the culture of racing back in the 2000s, during which time he claims the vast majority of cyclists were using some sort of performance-enhancing substance to get an advantage.

"When I made that decision, when my teammates made that decision, the whole peloton made that decision, we get it," Armstrong said. "It was a bad decision in an imperfect time, but it happened."

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and was removed as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation, the charitable organization he founded, after evidence proved he cheated.

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Scoreboard Roundup - 1/26/15


Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Top 25 Men's College Basketball: (13) North Carolina 93 (17-4) - Syracuse 83 (14-7)

(15) Iowa State 89 (15-4) - (19) Texas 86 (14-6)

NBA:  Sacramento Kings (16-27) @ New York Knicks (8-37) - Postponed

Portland Trail Blazers (32-13) @ Brooklyn Nets (18-26) - Postponed

Oklahoma City Thunder 92 (23-22) - Minnesota Timberwolves 84 (7-37)

New Orleans Pelicans 99 (24-21) - Philadelphia 76ers 74 (8-37)

Memphis Grizzlies 103 (32-12) - Orlando Magic 94 (15-33)

Boston Celtics 99 (16-27) - Utah Jazz 90 (16-29)

Los Angeles Clippers 102 (31-14) - Denver Nuggets 98 (18-27)

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Raiders Bring Back Woodson


Jeff Gross/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Ca.) -- The Oakland Raiders are bringing one of the most recognizable names in franchise history back for another season.

The Silver and Black announced via Twitter Monday that Charles Woodson had signed a one-year deal that will see him play his 11th season in Oakland. 

Woodson, 38, left the Raiders in 2006 to spend seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers.  He earned his first Super Bowl ring with Green Bay in 2010.

Last season, Woodson led the Raiders with four interceptions.

Woodson was drafted fourth overall in 1998 by the Raiders after winning the Heisman Trophy at the University of Michigan.

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Lakers Star Kobe Bryant Set for Shoulder Surgery


iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has a torn rotator cuff, the team announced on Monday. Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic confirmed the diagnosis, which was made last week. 

The 16-time All-Star will undergo surgery to repair his shoulder on Wednesday. No timetable has been given for his return.

The 36-year-old Bryant injured his shoulder during the second half of the Lakers' 96-80 loss to the Pelicans last Wednesday night in New Orleans, when he went for a two-handed slam dunk.

In 35 games this season, Bryant is averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. Last season, he played in just six games because of injuries to his knee and Achilles.

Bryant has won five NBA championships during his 19-year career with the Lakers.

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