- Associated Press - Friday, January 6, 2017


Three rookies among 17 first-time selections highlighted The Associated Press 2016 NFL All-Pro Team, led by Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott and Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill, a unanimous choice as punt returner.

One star not on the team: Tom Brady, who was stellar after a four-game suspension but was edged by Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan.

For the first time, the nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who regularly cover the NFL voted for specific positions on the offensive line, a flex player on offense, a fifth defensive back, and a punt returner and special teamer.

Tennessee right tackle Jack Conklin was the other rookie. Other newcomers included Arizona running back David Johnson (flex) and Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (DB).

One other unanimous pick was Baltimore placekicker Justin Tucker.

NEW YORK (AP) - Jarvis Landry’s post-touchdown celebration in a game against New England last weekend came with a hefty price tag: The NFL fined the Miami Dolphins wide receiver $48,618.

Half the fine was for grabbing his crotch. The other half was for spiking his helmet after he bounced off a linebacker to score on an 8-yard catch just before halftime of Miami’s 35-14 loss to the Patriots .


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - P.J. Fleck is leaving Western Michigan to take over a Minnesota program reeling from a threatened player boycott of a bowl game and the handling of a sexual assault investigation.

Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle said he was bringing in Fleck in hopes that his seemingly boundless enthusiasm will help unite a program and school that have been fractured over the last month.

The hiring comes three days after Coyle fired Tracy Claeys following a standoff between players and the administration over the suspension of 10 players in connection with assault allegations that date to September.

Fleck guided the Broncos to a 13-1 record this season and a spot in the Cotton Bowl, where they lost 24-16 to Wisconsin. The 36-year-old coach was 30-22 in four years at Western Michigan, with three bowl appearances.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley is leaving school early and entering the NFL draft, joining four teammates in forgoing their final year of college eligibility.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina tailback Elijah Hood has changed his mind and will enter the NFL draft instead of returning for his senior season.

FRISCO, Texas (AP) - Sam Houston State junior quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe was selected the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision after throwing for 4,602 yards and an NCAA-leading 57 touchdowns this season.

Briscoe won the Walter Payton Award over two other finalists, receiver Cooper Kupp and quarterback Gage Gubrud, both from Eastern Washington. Briscoe, who transferred from UAB after it shut down its football program, passed for 4,602 yards and 57 touchdowns for the Bearkats (12-1).

In a ceremony in advance of the FCS championship game Saturday, Northern Iowa senior defensive end Karter Schult was presented the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player. Schult’s 17 sacks led all Division I players.

Sam Houston’s K.C. Keeler was given the Eddie Robinson Award for top coach. Duquesne running back A.J. Hines was named the top freshman and given his trophy by award namesake Jerry Rice.


ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox apologized for making a joke a fan believed was racially insensitive.

Wilcox insisted he was only trying to make fun of himself and his family.

Wilcox, who is white, made a reference to his mixed-race marriage and family while speaking to season-ticket holders in December.

Wilcox issued a statement, obtained by The Associated Press, after the fan, Clarenton Crawford, was upset by the joke.

The Hawks have not issued a statement regarding the matter.

Former Hawks GM Danny Ferry resigned on June 22, 2015, after repeating racially charged statements from a scouting report about then-free agent Luol Deng.


SEATTLE (AP) - The Mariners landed another option for their pitching rotation, acquiring right-hander Yovani Gallardo from the Baltimore Orioles for outfielder Seth Smith.

Seattle also will receive $2 million from the Orioles, equalizing the 2017 salaries of the players.

Seattle made a second trade later in the day, sending right-hander Nathan Karns to Kansas City for outfielder Jarrod Dyson.

Gallardo was 6-8 with a 5.32 ERA in 23 starts last year with the Orioles, a season that included a lengthy early stint on the disabled list due to shoulder issues.


BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Bruins’ plane was diverted to Miami International Airport because of a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport.

An arriving airline passenger with a gun in his luggage opened fire in the baggage claim area at the Fort Lauderdale airport, killing five people and wounding eight before surrendering to authorities.

The Bruins’ planed landed in Miami shortly after 5 p.m. They are scheduled to play the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Nashville Predators defenseman Matt Irwin signed a one-year contract extension worth $650,000 for the 2017-18 season. Irwin, 29, has three goals and five assists in 32 games this season.


FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Texas Motor Speedway is going to completely repave its 1 1/2-mile track and reduce the high banking in the first and second turns.

The project comes after both NASCAR weekends and the IndyCar race at Texas last year were hampered by rain. TMS President Eddie Gossage said the old asphalt has become porous, almost like sponge, making it difficult to dry in a timely matter.

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