- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

NFL

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will not appeal the $1 million fine and loss of two draft choices the NFL penalized the team for its role in the use of deflated footballs in the AFC championship game.

Kraft said Tuesday at the owners meetings that he was putting the league before his franchise because “at no time should the agenda of one team” override “the good of the 32.”

The Patriots will lose a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017. Star quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season by the NFL, and Kraft’s decision not to appeal his team’s punishment does not affect Brady’s appeal, which already has been filed by the players’ union.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The NFL is moving back extra-point kicks and allowing defenses to score on conversion turnovers.

The owners on Tuesday approved the competition committee’s proposal to snap the ball from the 15-yard line on PATs to make them more challenging. In recent seasons, kickers made more than 99 percent of the kicks with the ball snapped from the 2.

“There was strong sentiment coming out of our meetings in March that something had to be done with our extra point,” said Texans general manager Rick Smith, a member of the competition committee that proposed this specific rule change. “From a kicking perspective the try was over 99 percent (successful), so we tried to add skill to the play.”

The accepted proposal places the 2-point conversion at the 2, and allows the defense to return a turnover to the other end zone for the two points, similar to the college rule. The defense can also score two points by returning a botched kick.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson says he is transferring to Florida State, where he will have the chance to replace Jameis Winston.

In a statement to Fox Sports, Golson said Tuesday after much consideration he will spend his fifth year of eligibility with the Seminoles.

Golson graduated from Notre Dame on Sunday. He will be immediately eligible to play under NCAA graduate transfer rules. He will also immediately become the most accomplished quarterback on Florida State’s roster, with Winston gone to the NFL as the first pick in the draft.

Golson helped Notre Dame reach the 2013 BCS championship game in his first season as a starter. He missed the 2013 season because of an academic violation. He returned to Notre Dame last season and threw for 3,445 yards.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Syracuse is bringing back the football team’s famed No. 44.

The school made the announcement on Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony for Plaza 44, which will be constructed adjacent to the new Ensley Athletic Center. The plaza will honor the great trio of running backs who wore the number and helped make it one of the most recognizable numbers in college football - Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little.

Statues of Brown, Davis and Little, all of them members of the College Football Hall of Fame, will be placed in the plaza, which is expected to be completed by the start of next season.

Since 1954, 11 players have worn 44 at Syracuse, none since the number was retired in 2005 and placed on permanent display inside the Carrier Dome.

NHL

CLEVELAND (AP) - A man who once conned the National Hockey League into thinking he was a wealthy entrepreneur well-qualified to buy one of the league’s most storied franchises has been convicted of another scam.

John Spano Jr. pleaded guilty Monday to 16 counts of forgery for what authorities say was a scheme that saw him collect nearly $70,000 in sales commissions on fraudulent accounts he created.

The 50-year-old Spano faces as many as 16 years in prison when sentenced in a Lake County courtroom next month. He remains free on bond. His attorney did not return telephone messages seeking comment Tuesday.

Spano, who lives with his parents in Grand River, a village about 30 miles east of Cleveland, became infamous after he agreed to buy the New York Islanders in 1996 for $165 million.

The NHL vetted Spano, who presented himself as a Texas businessman worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and approved the sale. He convinced banks to lend him $80 million for the purchase. But months after being hailed as a hero by Islanders fans, his con was revealed when he failed to pay a relatively modest down payment of $5 million.

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - The Edmonton Oilers have hired Todd McLellan as their coach after a season in which they again failed to make the playoffs.

The Oilers announced the hiring at a news conference Tuesday.

McLellan appeared to be Edmonton’s top choice since Peter Chiarelli became general manager this month. Todd Nelson replaced Dallas Eakins as coach in December.

McLellan spent the past seven seasons as the San Jose Sharks’ coach, making the playoffs in his first six. He has a career record of 311-163-66 during the regular season but is 30-32 in the playoffs.

Before joining the Sharks, he was an assistant on Mike Babcock’s staff in Detroit. McLellan coached Canada to a gold medal at the world hockey championship in Prague on Sunday.

NASCAR

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis says not a lot scares him, so he was comfortable going a few laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway at 165 mph with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year was selected to be the honorary pace car driver for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday.

On Tuesday, he got a chance to test out the pace car on the one-and-a-half mile racetrack before jumping in a stock car with Earnhardt, who took him on five high-speed laps around the track.

Davis says the experience was “an adrenaline rush.”

The 10-year NFL veteran Davis spent his time filming from the passenger seat so he could show his kids. He later posted the event on social media for his fans to see.

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