- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014


ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - The Oakland Raiders fired coach Dennis Allen four games into his third season.

The decision was announced Monday night, soon after the Raiders (0-4) returned from London where they lost their 10th straight game, dating to last season, 34-14 to the Miami Dolphins. The firing was first reported by Fox Sports.

Allen was the first head coach hired by Oakland after the death of longtime owner Al Davis. His 8-28 record is the worst for the franchise since before Davis arrived in 1963.

An announcement on the interim coach is expected to be made on Tuesday.

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer has been formally charged with assaulting his wife during two arguments in July at their Phoenix apartment.

An indictment publicly released late Friday charges Dwyer with felony aggravated assault and eight misdemeanors, including assault, criminal damage and disorderly conduct.

Investigators say Dwyer broke his wife’s nose with a head-butt during a July 21 argument and engaged in a dispute the following day in which he punched his wife and threw a shoe at his 17-month-old son, who wasn’t injured.

Dwyer had been booked on Sept. 17 on suspicion of aggravated assault against his son, but the indictment doesn’t charge him with any crimes related to the child.

An Oct. 6 status conference has been scheduled for Dwyer.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A developer that proposed building an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles asked the mayor and other city officials Monday for more time to lure a professional football team.

Anschutz Entertainment Group’s two-year agreement for the right to replace the city’s convention center with a 76,000-seat stadium and a new $287 million convention center wing hinges on landing an NFL franchise. If that deal expires Oct. 18, the city would take control of redeveloping its outdated convention center.

AEG Chief Executive Dan Beckerman said in a letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and two City Council members that the firm needs six more months for talks that have resumed with the NFL.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - An autopsy performed one year after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his 22-year-old girlfriend and killed himself found signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease found in athletes and others with a history of repetitive brain injuries.

Belcher, 25, killed Kasandra Perkins on Dec. 1, 2012, in the couple’s home while his mother was caring for his baby daughter in a nearby room. He then sped from the residence to the Chiefs training facility, where he shot himself in the head in front of then-general manager Scott Pioli and then-coach Romeo Crennel.

Belcher’s mother, Cheryl Shepherd, filed a lawsuit in December in Jackson County Circuit Court in Kansas City alleging her son was subjected to “repetitive head trauma,” and that the Chiefs failed to provide adequate medical care before he killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide.

That lawsuit and similar actions by more than 30 plaintiffs - many of them former Chiefs players - has been moved to federal court and subsequently set aside while a $765 million settlement between the league and various lawsuits is going through the approval process.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Twins fired manager Ron Gardenhire on Monday, saying it was time for a new voice after his 13-season tenure concluded with at least 92 losses in each of the last four years.

The move was made with one season left on Gardenhire’s contract, ending the second-longest active tenure in the major leagues behind Mike Scioscia of the Angels.

Gardenhire played an integral role in the franchise’s renaissance, guiding the Twins to their first of six American League Central division titles in 2002 in his first year on the job. But Gardenhire’s teams only got out of the first round once, and his postseason record was 6-21 with the last win coming in 2004.

The Twins have long been the model of stability in not only baseball but major professional sports, with only two managers over the last 28 years and two general managers over the last 20 seasons.

But all the losing of late became too much to overcome. Over the last four years, the Twins went 78-148 from Aug. 1 on for an abysmal .345 winning percentage.

HOUSTON (AP) - A.J. Hinch was hired as the manager of the Houston Astros on Monday.

Hinch takes over for Bo Porter, who was fired on Sept. 1 in his second year and replaced on an interim basis by Tom Lawless. The Astros finished 70-92 and fourth in the AL West.

Houston has been in a long rebuilding process and hasn’t finished above .500 since going 86-75 in 2008.

Hinch takes over a team that made a 19-game improvement over last year to end a streak of three straight 100-loss seasons and one that features AL batting champion Jose Altuve.

NEW YORK (AP) - In a nod to new technology, Major League Baseball will tweak its postseason tradition and add a seventh umpire to rotate between the replay booth and field for the World Series and league championship series.

The changes will take effect for best-of-seven matchups this October, a person familiar with the format told The Associated Press.

The extra umpire will work home plate in Game 1, go to right field in Game 2, then shift to the replay booth in New York for the rest of the series. Another ump will handle replay the first two games before working the remaining games on the field.

The person spoke to the AP under condition of anonymity because umpire assignments haven’t been announced for the World Series and the AL and NL championship series.

Six-man crews will call this year’s wild-card games and the best-of-five division series. The postseason begins Tuesday night when the Oakland Athletics visit the Kansas City Royals for the AL wild card.


ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon says a “serious lack of communication” led to wobbly quarterback Shane Morris playing Saturday against Minnesota when he should have been pulled for his own safety.

In a statement released just before 1 a.m. Tuesday, Brandon apologized for mistakes that “created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes.”

Brandon said he has had numerous meetings since Sunday to determine what happened after Morris took a crunching fourth-quarter hit to the chin from Theiren Cockran, who was penalized for roughing the passer. Morris staggered after getting up and briefly appeared to have trouble standing, but the sophomore remained in for the next play and threw an incompletion before coming out of the game.

Brandon said Morris had been treated for a sprained ankle earlier in the game, and medical staff on the sideline believed that was why he stumbled.

Brandon said the neurologist and other team physicians weren’t aware Morris was being asked to return to the field, and Morris left the bench when he heard his name called and went back into the game.

Brandon said Morris was examined for a concussion after the game and not diagnosed with one. But on Sunday, “Shane was diagnosed with a probable, mild concussion, and a high ankle sprain,” Brandon said.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky has suspended four freshmen for Saturday night’s SEC game against South Carolina for their involvement with air pistol shots being fired near a residence hall on campus. No one was injured Sunday night, but police issued an alert advising people to stay indoors on the Lexington campus as they investigated.

Suspended for violating team rules are running back Stanley “Boom” Williams, who is leading the Wildcats in all-purpose yards, backup quarterback Drew Barker, wide receiver Dorian Baker, and defensive end Tymere Dubose. A statement Monday evening from coach Mark Stoops and athletic director Mitch Barnhart said the group could face additional internal discipline.

Campus police chief Joe Monroe said in a statement that his department will meet with the Fayette County Attorney’s office “to determine what actions should take place.” He said guns of all types are banned from campus.


BEIJING (AP) - Serena Williams narrowly avoided a bagel against Spanish qualifier Silvia Soler-Espinosa, then won 13 of the next 15 games to pull out a 7-5, 6-2 victory Monday in the first round of the China Open.

Williams looked lethargic and flat-footed at the start, pushing the ball back without much pace or direction and occasionally shanking groundstrokes several feet out. After only 15 minutes, she had already dropped serve three times and fallen behind 5-0.

On the men’s side, U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic struggled with his consistency against Chinese wild-card entry Bai Yan, ranked 462nd in the world, but held on to win 6-3, 6-4.

Fifth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria also advanced with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

Other women’s winners included ninth-seeded Ana Ivanovic, who took advantage of eight double-faults by Belinda Bencic to beat the Swiss teenager 6-2, 6-1, and U.S. Open semifinalist Peng Shuai of China, who defeated Zhang Kailin 6-4, 6-1.

In the only upset of the day, 10th-seeded Jelena Jankovic lost to Cornet 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.

Fourteen-time major winner Rafael Nadal also returned to the court for the first time since injuring his wrist in July to play a doubles match. He and partner Pablo Andujar lost to Tomas Berdych and John Isner 7-5, 4-6, 10-4.

TOKYO (AP) - Marcel Granollers of Spain rallied from a set down to beat second-seeded David Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Monday and advance to the second round of the Japan Open.

Granollers converted four of nine break points at Ariake Coliseum and will next face Steve Johnson of the United States. Johnson lost only seven of his first service points and hit 12 aces to beat Japanese qualifier Hiroki Moriya 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Also, seventh-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa defeated Dominic Thiem of Austria 7-6 (5), 6-4, and Gilles Muller of Luxembourg beat Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-3, 6-4.

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