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FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2017, file photo, New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty, left, and running back LeGarrette Blount hold a Super Bowl trophy during a rally in Boston to celebrate their win over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game in Houston. McCourty and Blount are among a half-dozen players that have turned down an expected invitation to the White House. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File) **FILE**

White House visit snubs nothing new by pro athletes

- Associated Press

While presidents have been snubbed before, six players from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots took it to another level by preemptively turning down an expected invitation from President Trump. Rest assured, they won’t be the last to mix sports and politics.

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U of I announces Athletic Hall of Fame class

Associated Press

The University of Illinois is announcing its first Athletic Hall of Fame class that includes legendary football coach and Chicago Bears' owner George Halas, baseball Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau and Harold "Red" Grange, the football star whose fame in the early 20th century rivaled that of Babe Ruth.

49ers announce 4-year deal with DT Earl Mitchell

- Associated Press

When Earl Mitchell got a head start on free agency after being released last week by the Miami Dolphins, the San Francisco 49ers managed to sell him on familiarity with coaches rather than past success for the team.

John R.K. Howard takes a seat during his sentencing hearing, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, at the courthouse in Twin Falls, Idaho. District Judge Randy Stoker has sentenced John R.K. Howard, a high school football player to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service after prosecutors said he took part in a brutal locker room assault on a black football player in a small Idaho town. (Drew Nash/The Times-News via AP)

Judge sentences high school football player in assault case

Associated Press

An Idaho judge has sentenced a high school football player to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service after prosecutors said he took part in a locker room sexual assault on a black football player in a small Idaho town.

In this Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, photograph, Air Force wide receiver Jalen Robinette takes part in a drill to prepare for the NFL Combine at a workout facility in Centennial, Colo. Robinette continues to take classes at the academy to become an officer in the Air Force while preparing for a career on the gridiron as an NFL wide receiver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Jalen Robinette both a cadet and NFL hopeful

- Associated Press

Except for the few who already have donned cap and gown, most of the 330 prospects heading to the NFL Combine next week have put their pursuits of a college degree on hold so they can focus on their football futures.