Brett Favre, Terrell Owens lead list of first-year Pro Football Hall of Fame nominees

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Brett Favre is back in the news – no, he’s not attempting another comeback.

Favre was among the 108 modern-day nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2016. The NFL’s career leader in nearly every passing category when he retired after the 2010 season and winner of the 1997 Super Bowl with Green Bay, Favre leads a strong list of first-time nominees.

That group includes Terrell Owens, one of the league’s most prolific and dynamic receivers for most of his 15 pro seasons, and Alan Faneca, an elite blocker who made six All-Pro teams at guard in his 13 seasons.

Other first-year-eligible nominees are safety Lawyer Milloy; running backs Brian Westbrook and Clinton Portis; place-kicker John Carney; and linebackers Keith Bulluck and Mike Vrabel.

Already nominated by the seniors committee are Ken Stabler and Dick Stanfel. The 2016 contributor candidate is former 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr.

Rutgers football coach Flood suspended 3 games

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Rutgers has suspended football coach Kyle Flood for three games and fined him $50,000 for contacting a faculty member over a player’s grade – an issue separate from a string of recent player arrests.

Rutgers President Robert Barchi announced the punishment a day after he said he received an internal investigative report that found a professor felt pressured by Flood into allowing a player to complete an additional assignment in an attempt to improve his grade.

The report found that Flood emailed and met in person with a faculty member even though he knew or should have known of the university’s policies prohibiting coach-initiated contact with faculty members regarding students’ academic standing.

In a statement Wednesday, Flood accepted responsibility but defended looking out for the academic interest of players.

Voynov leaving Kings, heading back to Russia

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Defenseman Slava Voynov announced he will return home to Russia with his family, leaving the Los Angeles Kings in the wake of his legal troubles resulting from domestic violence charges.

In a statement through his agent, Rolland Hedges, Voynov apologized to “those in and around the game of hockey who have been affected by my situation.”

Voynov was suspended for the final 76 games of last season, and he pleaded no contest in July to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence against his wife, Marta Varlamova.

The Kings announced Wednesday that they had planned to terminate the final four seasons of Voynov’s contract Thursday when they open training camp, saying Voynov will never play for them again. The club says the termination is no longer necessary because Voynov’s departure for Russia should eliminate their obligation to pay the $19.25 million left on his deal.

Delle Donne named WNBA MVP

NEW YORK (AP) — Elena Delle Donne has to make more room in her ever-growing trophy case.

The Chicago Sky star was announced as the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player for the first time in her young career.

Delle Donne averaged 23.4 points per game to lead the league this season and help Chicago secure the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The 26-year-old forward grabbed 8.4 rebounds – more than double her total from the previous year. She also blocked two shots a game. The 2013 Rookie of the Year had a career-best 45 points early in the season and shot 95 percent from the free throw line.

She received 38 of the 39 first-place votes from a national media panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Minnesota’s Maya Moore, who won the award last year, received the other first-place vote.

Moses Malone’s funeral on Saturday in Houston

HOUSTON (AP) — Basketball Hall of Famer Moses Malone will be remembered at a funeral service on Saturday in Houston.

Malone, a three-time NBA MVP, died Sunday at age 60.

The funeral will be at noon CST at Houston megachurch Lakewood. The church is in the same building where the Houston Rockets played during Malone’s time with the team from 1976-1982 when it was called The Summit.

Mallett to start at QB for Texans Sunday

HOUSTON (AP) — Ryan Mallett will start at quarterback for the Houston Texans on Sunday at Carolina, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Brian Hoyer started the season-opener, but had two turnovers early and was benched in the fourth quarter. Mallett took over and led the Texans on two scoring drives in the last six minutes of the 27-20 loss to Kansas City.

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