- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

PRO FOOTBALL

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith pleaded no contest Wednesday to three felony weapons charges and two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence.

The 24-year-old Smith entered his pleas in a Santa Clara County Superior Courtroom in San Jose. He faces a sentence ranging from spending no time in custody to a maximum of four years and four months behind bars at a judge’s discretion, prosecutors said.

Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on July 25 - two days after the 49ers are to open training camp in Santa Clara.

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Former NFL lineman Jeremy Newberry says he often hobbled into the 49ers locker room using a walking boot and crutches, then lined up behind as many as two dozen teammates for treatment - in his case, a shot of the painkiller Toradol. Ten minutes later, he sprinted onto the field to play.

The toughness of pro football players is part of the league’s image, but a lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of more than 600 former players contends it was abetted by team physicians and trainers across the NFL who routinely dispensed powerful narcotics and other controlled substances on game days to mask the pain.

Although painkillers have been discussed around NFL locker rooms for decades, plaintiffs in this suit give details about which drugs they say teams persuaded them to use and how even severe injuries were covered up temporarily.

BOSTON (AP) - Investigators asked for help from tattoo artists who may have inked former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, saying they could help in the prosecution of a double murder Hernandez is charged with committing in 2012.

The Suffolk district attorney’s office stressed that the tattoo artists are considered witnesses, not suspects, and “may have made observations of evidentiary value.”

Hernandez is charged in three killings. He is scheduled to be arraigned May 28 on two counts of murder for allegedly shooting two men in Boston in 2012, prosecutors said Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama congratulated the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, saluting their victories on the field and their contributions to their community.

Noting that some analysts didn’t see Seattle as a top team, Obama said he appreciated the team overcoming long odds.

“As a guy who was elected president named Barack Obama, I root for the underdog,” the president joked.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Colts linebacker Robert Mathis apologized to his teammates for the four-game suspension he received from the NFL.

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