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Last Update on December 17, 2014 23:50 GMT

NCAA-CONCUSSION LAWSUIT

CHICAGO (AP) -- A federal judge has rejected a proposed $75 million head injury settlement with the NCAA as too broad.

U.S. District Judge John Lee says the deal could be altered to address his concerns, which include the scope of the proposal. At an October hearing, he raised similar concerns, saying, "The settlement, as it's constituted, includes every athlete for all time."

Under the settlement, NCAA would toughen return-to-play rules for players with concussions. It would also create a $70 million fund to test current and former athletes for brain trauma, and set aside $5 million for research.

NFL-NINERS

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- Defensive lineman Ray McDonald has been released by the San Francisco 49ers amid an investigation by San Jose police into McDonald on suspicion of sexual assault. The club says it notified the NFL office of the allegations against McDonald, saying, "This is a team decision."

Last month, the Santa Clara County district attorney's office announced it declined to file charges against the defensive lineman in an investigation stemming from his Aug. 31 arrest in a domestic violence case.

NFL-RICE PROBE

UNDATED (AP) -- Nearly 500 employees at NFL headquarters in New York have turned over phone and email records to investigators looking into how Commissioner Roger Goodell (guh-DEHL') and his staff handled evidence in the Ray Rice case. Two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press about the handover of material on condition of anonymity because details of the investigation won't be made public until former FBI director Robert S. Mueller (MUHL'-ur) releases his report. The report is expected to be completed this month, one of the sources said.

Mueller has been investigating whether anyone at the NFL had seen or obtained video of the former Baltimore Ravens running back striking his then-fiancee inside an elevator before the video was published online.

NFL-PANTHERS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Cam Newton has returned to practice eight days after an automobile accident left him with two fractures in his lower back. The quarterback took part in all of the team drills and did some throwing during the portion of practice open to reporters. His status for playing in Sunday's game against Cleveland remains up in the air.

Newton missed last week's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after flipping his truck in a two-vehicle wreck on Dec. 9. He is 3-8-1 this season as Carolina's starter.

NFL-PAINKILLERS

NEW YORK (AP) -- A lawsuit brought by retired NFL players against the league for allegedly routinely mishandling painkillers has been dismissed. Judge William Alsup of the U.S. Northern District in California noted that the league has addressed the "serious and inevitable evil" of player injuries in a "serious way" through collective bargaining with the players' union.

The judge gave them until Dec. 30 to file an amended complaint.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL-PROFANE PELINI

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- On the day he was introduced as Youngstown State's new head coach, the ugly nature of Bo Pelini's departure from Nebraska was revealed.

Pelini lambasted Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst in a profanity-filled talk during his final meeting with his players. The Omaha World-Herald on Wednesday reported that it obtained an audiotape of Pelini's address to the players on Dec. 2 at a Lincoln high school. The World-Herald reported that Pelini used two vulgarities for female genitalia in reference to Eichorst as well as other profanity.

The university said in a statement that if the audiotape is authentic, "it only reaffirms the decision that he should no longer be a leader of young men at Nebraska."

The Associated Press left messages for Pelini and Youngstown athletic director Ron Strollo.

MLB-ACTIVITIES

UNDATED (AP) -- New Braves outfielder Nick Markakis (mar-KAY'-kihs) has undergone surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. The Braves say the operation was a success and Markakis should be able to resume baseball activities before spring training in late February. The expected eight-week recovery period leaves little room for setbacks.

The 31-year-old was diagnosed with the condition before the 2013 season with the Orioles. He left to sign a $44 million, four-year contract with the Braves, who felt the neck condition was not a serious risk.

In other baseball news;

-- Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis has had surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his left ring finger. Kipnis injured his finger while working out at home in Chicago. The Indians say they expect Kipnis to be ready for the start of the 2015 season. He batted .240 last season.

-- Free agent right-hander Brandon Morrow and the San Diego Padres have agreed to a $2.5 million, one-year contract. Morrow was 1-3 with a 5.67 earned run average in six starts and seven relief appearances for Toronto last season.

-- Seattle has acquired Justin Ruggiano (roo-JEE'-ah-no) from the Cubs for minor league pitcher Matt Brazis. Ruggiano appeared in 81 games last season for the Cubs, hitting .281 with six homers and 28 runs batted in.

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