Around the Nation (Dec. 28): Mike Wallace to sit out vs. Browns

CHRIS ADAMSKI Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

PRO FOOTBALL

Steelers' WR Wallace to sit out vs. Browns

PITTSBURGH -- For the first time since he was taken in the third round in the 2009 draft, Mike Wallace will miss a regular-season game for the Steelers.

It might well be the first of many games Pittsburgh plays without the speedster receiver going forward.

An injury in his left hip and hamstring area will prevent Wallace from playing in the Steelers' season finale Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. He will be an unrestricted free agent, leaving his status with the team for beyond this season in question.

Wallace isn't the only veteran who might have attended his final practice as a Steelers player Friday. On the heels of a non-winning season and with salary-cap issues upcoming, Pittsburgh (7-8) has some decisions to make on several longtime stalwarts who have been tenured contributors to championship teams.

Jaguars' Jones-Drew has foot surgery, out five months

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is having surgery on his left foot and will be out at least until May.

The Jaguars (2-13) placed Jones-Drew on injured reserve Friday, two days before the season finale at Tennessee.

But keeping him on the active roster for two months after the Oct. 21 injury -- and during the worst season in franchise history -- surely creates questions about whether the team botched the whole thing.

Coach Mike Mularkey says Jones-Drew ran again Monday and complained of soreness, so the team sent him to Charlotte, N.C., for a checkup. Renowned foot specialist Dr. Bob Anderson told the Jaguars that the foot wasn't healing as well as expected, so they opted for surgery.

Mularkey says Jones-Drew will be "hopefully back by May, late May, early June."

Report: Saints, Payton, agree to terms on deal

NEW ORLEANS -- Two people familiar with the deal say suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has agreed in principle to a multiyear contract extension.

The people told The Associated Press about the deal Friday on condition of anonymity because it hasn't been signed and final details regarding the length of the contract and financial compensation are still being worked out.

The agreement was first reported by Fox Sports.

Payton was due to begin his seventh season as the Saints' head coach in 2012 before being suspended the whole season by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation.

Payton signed an extension in 2011, but Goodell objected to certain language in that deal, leaving Payton's future uncertain until the deal was reached Friday.

Baltimore's Ed Reed fined $55K for hit

NEW YORK -- Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed was fined $55,000 by the NFL for his high hit on the New York Giants' Victor Cruz last weekend.

Reed struck the wide receiver in the head and neck area, and was penalized for the hit in the game. He had a one-game suspension last month for several helmet-to-helmet hits reduced to a $50,000 fine.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was fined $21,000 for abusive conduct toward a game official, and another $10,000 for kicking Oakland's Tommy Kelly after a play was over. Newton shouted at and bumped referee Jerome Boger in the fourth quarter of Carolina's 17-6 victory.

New England's Vince Wilfork was docked $30,000 for hitting Jacksonville offensive lineman Steve Vallos in the head with his forearm on a play in which possession changed.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Nevada football coach Chris Ault retires

RENO, Nevada -- Nevada coach Chris Ault is retiring after 28 seasons leading the Wolf Pack and changing the way teams play offense.

Ault is the winningest coach in school history with a record of 233-109-1. He raised the program from Division II to I-AA and eventually helped it become a winner I-A.

The 66-year-old Ault won 10 conference championships and took the Wolf Pack to postseason play 16 times, including 10 bowl games in 12 FBS seasons.

Maybe his most famous contribution came late in his career, when he invented the Pistol offense in 2005, a scheme now employed by hundreds of teams at every level of football.

The Pistol formation has the quarterback in a short shot-gun formation with a running back lined up directly behind him.

Texas suspends two players after assault report

SAN ANTONIO -- Texas suspended two football players Friday and sent them home on the eve of the Alamo Bowl, hours after police said they were investigating a report of a sexual assault at a San Antonio hotel.

Coach Mack Brown did not identify the players, but he referred to a KENS-TV report that police were investigating two Texas players in the alleged assault.

Sgt. Javier Salazar, a police spokesman, said only that detectives are in the early stages of investigating the case. A heavily-redacted police report says a 21-year-old woman told police she had several drinks and believed she was assaulted around 2 a.m. Friday after inviting two men, identified only as students, to her hotel room.

Texas (8-4) plays Oregon State (9-3) in Saturday's bowl game.

TENNIS

Stomach bug knocks Nadal from Australian

MADRID -- Rafael Nadal says he will not play the Australian Open because of a stomach virus, further delaying his comeback after being sidelined since June.

The Spaniard also will skip the preceding Qatar Open. The Australian Open, the year's first Grand Slam tournament, begins Jan. 14. The same virus kept Nadal from making his return at Abu Dhabi this week.

Nadal has been out because of tendinitis in his left knee since a second-round loss to then-100th-ranked Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon. He was forced to miss the London Olympics.

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