ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The NFL’s officiating chief has cleared Broncos receiver Wes Welker of any wrongdoing for his hit that knocked Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib out of Sunday’s AFC Championship.
Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino, making his weekly appearance on the NFL Network, said the hit was ‘legal.’
On Monday, New England coach Bill Belichick blasted Welker for the hit, calling it “one of the worst plays” he’d seen in nearly four decades of coaching.
There will be no discipline for Welker; Blandino said there was simply no infraction of the rules.
• KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) — NFL great Deion Sanders took quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Cam Newton with his first skill position picks in the Pro Bowl draft, going for passers early before focusing on defense in building a team for one win.
Jerry Rice chose New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham and then Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy with his first two picks, giving active player captain Drew Brees his top target early to go along with two Saints offensive linemen picked the previous day.
The picks kicked off the three-hour process of divvying up 60 players for Sunday’s all-star game. The game is being played in an “unconferenced” format for the first time, straying from its usual AFC vs. NFC teams. The new format is meant to liven up the Pro Bowl, which has been criticized by fans and even Commissioner Roger Goodell for the quality of play.
• NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans hired former Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills head coach Mike Mularkey as tight ends coach on Ken Whisenhunt’s staff.
The Titans announced the addition of Mularkey as well as the hirings of John McNulty as quarterbacks coach and Kevin Patullo as assistant wide receivers coach.
PSU women crush Hoosiers by 13
STATE COLLEGE (AP) — Maggie Lucas and Ariel Edwards each scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead No. 13 Penn State in a 65-52 victory over Indiana on Wednesday night.
Penn State led 31-24 at the half after shooting 9 of 28 (32 percent) from the field. The Lady Lions improved their shooting to 38.5 percent by the end of the night — 3 of 9 from distance — but dominated under the basket with 24 more rebounds (54-30) than Indiana.
Tori Waldner tied her career-high with 11 points and Talia East added 13 with 11 boards for the Lady Lions (14-4, 5-1 Big Ten).
Indiana forced 21 turnovers in the competition, but shot 27.6 percent (16 of 58) from the floor. The Hoosiers (15-4, 2-4) made 9 of 30 attempts from 3-point range.
Tabitha Gerardot scored 12 points for Indiana .