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Archie Manning Leaves Playoff Committee


iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Citing health reasons, Archie Manning has stepped down Monday from the College Football Playoff Committee that was designed to select the four teams in the 2014 NCAA Playoff, the first in collegiate football.

"It is an honor to serve on this committee, and I enjoy the group and was looking forward to the opportunity ahead," Manning said. "My health had to be my primary concern and I intend to be up and about as soon as possible."

The 65-year-old underwent knee replacement surgery earlier this year and has begun to experience some discomfort while walking. Manning is scheduled to have another procedure done in the next month and will be unable to attend the committee's meetings.

Now a 12-member group, the committee will release its first rankings on Oct. 28. Should a 6-6 deadlock vote occur for the top two teams in the playoff, the group will continue to discuss and re-vote until a member changes their mind. There is currently no option where the committee's chair can break a tie.

With the departure of Manning, the committee has placed Mike Tranghese to work with the Mountain West Conference while Steve Weiberg will assist with the Atlantic Coast Conference.

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Aldon Smith Could Have Suspension Reduced


Brian Bahr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- San Francisco 49er Aldon Smith could be returning sooner than later, according to a league source that confirmed Monday the linebacker's suspension may be reduced for good behavior.

Smith was initially suspended nine-games prior to the start of the season for violating the NFL's personal conduct and substance abuse policies. The suspension is set to be lifted on Nov. 10, following San Francisco's game against the New Orleans Saints.

However, a league source confirmed a report that the penalty may be reduced by one or two games. That means the linebacker could return prior to San Fran's matchup with the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 3. The 49ers have a bye-week in Week 8 and a Week 9 return would only improve a linebacking core that has been hampered with injuries and suspensions.

In order for the suspension to be reduced, Smith must maintain his good behavior. Under the terms of the suspension, the four-year veteran has been allowed at the team facilities for meetings and conditioning but has not been allowed to practice.

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Pacers' George Takes Jump Shots at Practice


Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Less than three months ago, Paul George was being carried off the floor from a intersquad scrimmage with Team USA with a broken leg. On Monday, the Indiana Pacers forward was seen shooting jump shots with his teammates at practice.

Video surfaced from Pacers practice that showed George taking midrange jumpers as well as shooting some three-pointers in the gym following practice. The small forward suffered a grisly compound fracture in his right leg on Aug. 1 during a televised scrimmage with Team USA before the FIBA World Cup.

The 24-year-old has been cleared to put weight on his leg and begin upper-body workouts. George also proclaimed recently that he plans to play at some point during the upcoming NBA season.

A two-time All-Star, George has not missed more than three games in a season since the 2011-12 campaign. Last year he helped lead the Pacers back to the Eastern Conference Finals, averaging 21.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

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Second Quarter Outburst Lifts Steelers Past Houston


Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers scored 24 points in the second quarter, including three touchdowns in less than 90 seconds, to pick up a 30-23 win over the Houston Texans on Monday night. It was the 16th straight victory for the Steelers on Monday Night Football.

Trailing 13-0 halfway through the second quarter, the Steelers (4-3) got on the board with a Shaun Suisham field goal at the 3:08 mark. Less than two minutes later, Ben Roethlisberger found Martavis Bryant for a 35-yard touchdown pass that brought Pittsburgh within three at 13-10.

What happened next changed the course of the game. Two plays after the touchdown, Houston's Arian Foster fumbled deep in his own territory to give the Steelers perfect field possession. Wide receiver Antonio Brown then delivered a three-yard pass to Lance Moore on a reverse, putting Pittsburgh ahead 17-13. Things only escalated for the Texans (3-4) when Ryan Fitzpatrick's pass was tipped an intercepted on the very next play.

That set-up another scoring drive for Pittsburgh, capped off by a Roethlisberger two-yard strike to Le'Veon Ball, making it a 24-13 ball game at halftime.

"You stand on the sidelines long enough, you will see explosions such as that," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "It was good to be on the good side of it."

The Steelers only mustered a pair of second-half field goals and had to hold off a late rally by the Texans. Houston pulled within a touchdown when Fitzpatrick and Foster connected for a touchdown pass with 1:31 remaining in regulation. However, the ensuing onside kick was recovered by Pittsburgh, who ran out the clock.

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Scoreboard Roundup - 10/20/14


Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NFL Week 7: Pittsburgh Steelers 30 (4-3) - Houston Texans 23 (3-4)

NHL: Edmonton Oilers 3 (1-4-1, 3 points) - Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (3-2-1, 7 points)

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Percy Harvin Practices for First Time with New York Jets


iStock/Thinkstock(FLORHAM PARK, N.J.) -- Percy Harvin practiced with the New York Jets for the first time on Monday. Gang Green acquired the Pro Bowl wide receiver this past Friday from the Seattle Seahawks for a conditional draft pick.

“Everything is good,” Harvin said. “They have pieces here. I’m loving Geno (Smith), I’m loving the defense, and I’m looking forward to playing alongside (Eric) Decker. It’s going to be a good time.”

In five games this season with the Seahawks, the 26-year-old had 22 receptions for 133 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. Last season, he helped Seattle win their first Vince Lombardi trophy with a 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Harvin was originally drafted by the Minnesota Vikings out of Florida with the 12th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. 

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Flames and T.J. Brodie Agree to Contract Extension


Comstock/Thinkstock(CALGARY, Alberta) -- The Calgary Flames and defenseman T.J. Brodie agreed to a contract extension on Monday. The deal is for five years and is worth an average of $4.65 million per season, according to ESPN.

The 24-year-old Brodie is in the final season of a two-year contract he signed in 2013, which pays him an average annual salary of $2.1 million.

The Flames selected Brodie with the 114th overall pick in the 2008 NHL draft.  In 192 games he has 11 goals and 55 assists.

Calgary (4-3-0; 8pts) is currently two points behind the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division.

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NBA Announces Basketball Development Curriculum in Chinese Schools


National Basketball Association(NEW YORK) -- For years the NBA has been focused on expanding the game's popularity and reach internationally. They have taken another big step in doing so as the league has announced they've agreed on a partnership with the educational system in China to implement an official basketball-related curriculum in the nation’s schools.

Because of players like Yao Ming among others, the NBA has grown to become extremely popular in China.

From the official release, the league states:

“The groundbreaking partnership will focus on basketball participation in elementary, middle and high schools across China and aims to provide enhanced basketball training to at least 3 million students by 2017.”

“As part of the curriculum, NBA players, legends and coaches will visit Chinese schools to conduct basketball clinics and provide specialized instruction to Chinese coaches and physical education teachers.  Chinese coaches and physical education teachers selected by the Ministry of Education will also have the chance to observe and participate in coaching activities organized by the NBA.”

Back in February 2014, NBA China and Ming launched the first ever after-school basketball program in Beijing.

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Cowboys' Joseph Randle Lands Underwear Endorsement After Shoplifting


Scott Boehm/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Less than a week after being charged for a misdemeanor after he shoplifted a pair of underwear and cologne at a Dillard's in Frisco, Texas, Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has landed an endorsement with MeUndies.

According to MeUndies head of marketing and business development, Dan King, the company has turned to Randle to become a spokesman for the brand.

Randle was fined $29,500 for shoplifting, and MeUndies will pay the fine.

Joseph teamed up with MeUndies to give back to his community and help families in need.

"As a young company, MeUndies is faced with difficult challenges all the time. It's up to us to turn a negative situation into a positive one, almost on a daily basis," King said. "How you learn from your mistakes fast is how you find success in our business and those lessons are applicable in all walks of life."

The 22-year-old Randle is in his second NFL season and has 120 rushing yards this season on 18 carries.

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Catcher A.J. Pierzynski Plans to Play in 2015


Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After just completing his 17th Major League season, which is no easy feat for a catcher, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports A.J. Pierzynski plans to play again in 2015.

Pierzynski spent last season with the Boston Red Sox before he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Pierzkynski will be an unrestricted free agent, so it remains to be seen just where he'll continue his playing career and in what capacity.

“I want to play, obviously,” Pierzynski told the paper. “Physically I feel good. I still think I can contribute. I don’t know what will be out there, but I want to play.”

In 2014, Pierzynski batted .251, the lowest mark of his career, while hitting five home runs and 37 RBIs in 102 games played. Despite the down season, Pierzynski is a career .281 hitter and batted .272 and hit 17 home runs with the Texas Rangers in 2013.

Pierzynski will turn 38 in December.

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