JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon was suspended indefinitely without pay for another violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Blackmon was previously suspended the first four games of this season for violating the policy.
The Jaguars acknowledged he has a problem after at least his third violation in about 18 months.
“All of us who are a part of the Jaguars family care very deeply about Justin and his well-being,” general manager Dave Caldwell said in a statement. “That said, he must be held accountable and accept the consequences announced today by the NFL.
Judge approves retirees’ settlement
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge in Minnesota gave final approval to a $50 million settlement in the complicated court fight over publicity rights for retired NFL players, calling it a “one-of-a-kind, and a remarkable victory for the class as a whole.”
The NFL and the retired players reached the agreement in March, and U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson gave preliminary approval in April. But 19 players had filed objections, with some saying direct payments won’t be made to the former players and that varying benefits will be unfairly distributed.
Ponder to start for Vikings on Sunday
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Christian Ponder will start at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier tabbed Ponder over Josh Freeman.
Kobe still weeks away from return
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant is making steady progress in his injury recovery, although the Los Angeles Lakers star is likely still weeks from a return to the court.
Before Friday night’s game with the San Antonio Spurs, Bryant said he’s running on flat ground “a little bit more aggressively” and improving the flexibility in his ankle. Bryant also works out regularly on a special treadmill at the Lakers’ training complex.
While Bryant isn’t projecting a return date, he has said he would need about three weeks of conditioning work before returning to practice. He thinks this week counts toward that total.
Johnson’s WCG lead cut in half
SHANGHAI (AP) — Dustin Johnson had a chance to run away from the field Stoday in the HSBC Champions. But he made two double bogeys in his 6-under 66 and saw his lead cut in half to three shots going into the final round of this World Golf Championship.
Johnson ran off five straight birdies on the front nine, and then four straight birdies on the back nine to lead by six shots over Ian Poulter.
Poulter made a birdie on the 18th for a 63, and Johnson hit his drive into the water on the closing hole for his second double bogey.
Johnson was at 18-under 198, three clear of Poulter. Graeme McDowell had a 64 and was four shots behind.
Martin Kaymer set the course record with a 62.
Couples holds Champions lead
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Fred Couples took the second-round lead Friday in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, shooting his second straight 6-under 65 in the Champions Tour’s season-ending event.
Winless this season, Couples had a bogey-free round at TPC Harding Park.
First-round leader Peter Senior bogeyed the 18th for a 69 and fall two strokes back.
Bart Bryant was third at 8 under after a 66. Bernhard Langer was another stroke back after a 68.
Charles Schwab Cup points leader Kenny Perry had a 71 to remain 3 under.
Fred Funk aced the par-3 eighth hole with a 4-iron, but bogeyed four of his next seven holes and finished with his second straight 70.
Dillon wins truck race
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Ty Dillon led 130 of the 147 laps for a dominating milestone victory at Texas, while Matt Crafton moved closer to a NASCAR Truck Series season championship with another top-10 finish.