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Monday's Sports in Brief

Monday's Sports in Brief

SEATTLE (AP) Nearly five years after their colors, banners and history were packed away into storage and their franchise relocated, the SuperSonics are one significant step closer to returning to Seattle.

And the Kings are on the verge of leaving Sacramento.

All that appears to stand in the way now is approval by NBA owners.

The Maloof family has agreed to sell the Kings to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen, the league confirmed in a statement Monday morning. The deal is pending a vote by the NBA Board of Governors.

A person familiar with the decision said that Hansen's group will buy 65 percent of the franchise, which is valued at $525 million, and move the team to Seattle and restore the SuperSonics name. The deal will cost the Hansen group a little more than $340 million. The Maloofs will have no stake in the team.

CLEVELAND (AP) - Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao will miss the rest of the season because of a blood clot in his lung.

The team said that he is expected to fully recover but will need to take blood thinners for about three months. Varejao has been in the hospital since Thursday and will likely remain there for several more days of treatment.

The 6-foot-11 Brazilian was averaging career highs of 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds this season

COLLEGES

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - Two former Miami assistant coaches have been told they will be charged with ``unethical conduct'' when the NCAA presents the Hurricanes' athletic department with its notice of allegations, two people familiar with the situation said.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the NCAA or Miami has announced the contents of the long-awaited letter, which the Hurricanes may receive at any time. The people say the coaches will be cited for violating NCAA bylaw 10.1, a broad rule that covers conduct and cooperating with investigations. One of the coaches has been told to expect arrival of an actual copy of the allegations on Tuesday, one person told the AP.

Parties who are named in the notice of allegations are entitled to a copy, though it is unclear if all will receive the letter simultaneous to its delivery at Miami. It's unknown how many current and former coaches and staff members will be charged with wrongdoing.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Community residents have scheduled a vigil Tuesday to remember former Penn State coach Joe Paterno a year after his death.

A family spokesman says the family won't be involved and intends to remain in privacy. Paterno died of lung cancer on Jan. 22, 2012, at age 85, two months after being fired by the school in the aftermath of the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

PRO FOOTBALL

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning will get a chance to be teammates after all - at Sunday's Pro Bowl.

Luck earned his way to the game when New England's Tom Brady pulled out with an undisclosed injury.

He'll be joined by teammates Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis in Hawaii and Manning, the quarterback who preceded Luck in Indy.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - Tom Brady's foot-up slide in the AFC championship game did not sit well with Baltimore Ravens strong safety Bernard Pollard.

During the final minute of the first half, Brady slid to the ground to end of an impromptu run. The quarterback's upraised leg hit onrushing Ravens free safety Ed Reed, who emerged from the play without injury.

But Pollard believes Brady should be disciplined by the NFL, which levies fines on defensive players for helmet-to-helmet hits.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Former Browns coach Pat Shurmur is joining Chip Kelly's staff with the Philadelphia Eagles, a person familiar with the hiring told The Associated Press on Monday.

Shurmur is expected to be Philadelphia's offensive coordinator, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Eagles haven't announced any coaching moves.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - Jim Caldwell will remain the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator next season.

Caldwell moved from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator on Dec. 9 after coach John Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron.

With Caldwell directing the offense, the Ravens have won three straight playoff games to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2000 season. This is the first time Caldwell has ever served as an offensive coordinator at any level

TENNIS

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Maria Sharapova continued her dominating form at the Australian Open with a straight-set win over Ekatrina Makarova on Tuesday, conceding only nine games in five matches en route to a semifinal against Li Na.

No. 2-ranked Sharapova had a 6-2, 6-2 quarterfinal win over fellow Russian Makarova on Rod Laver Arena and has spent just 5 hours, 15 minutes on court so far in the tournament.

After opening with pair of 6-0, 6-0 wins, Sharapova trounced seven-time major winner Venus Williams 6-1, 6-3 in the third round and Belgian Kristen Flipkens 6-0, 6-1 in the fourth. Nobody has conceded fewer games on the way to the semifinals at the Australian Open.

The 30-year-old Li advanced to her third semifinal in four years at Melbourne Park with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Agnieszka Radwanska, ending the Pole's 13-match winning streak.

In the men's bracket, No. 4-seeded David Ferrer survived a match point the third set and two more in the fourth when No. 10 Nicolas Almagro was serving for the match, holding firm to finally advanced to his fourth semifinal in six Grand Slam events with a 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4), 6-2 win Tuesday.

CYCLING

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Oprah Winfrey believes Lance Armstrong can be a hero again.

And she thinks people will be willing to forgive him.

Winfrey said that the hardest thing Armstrong has done in his life is confess in an interview with her last week that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win his seven Tour de France titles.

``If he is willing to do the work ... he can be a real hero,'' Winfrey said during a lecture in Edmonton, the first stop on a speaking tour through Western Canada.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Baseball players urged that Marvin Miller be put in the Hall of Fame as they spoke during a memorial for the union leader.

In an auditorium filled with Hall of Famers, dozens of retired and current players, baseball officials, agents and labor lawyers, 13 speakers praised the former baseball union head, who helped players gain free agency in the 1970s and created the path to multimillion-dollar salaries. Miller died in November at 95.

``It is a travesty he is not in the Hall of Fame,'' former major league player and manager Buck Martinez said during the two-hour program.

SOCCER

CARSON, Calif. (AP) - Landon Donovan will return to the Los Angeles Galaxy for the upcoming MLS season, but exactly when he resumes playing hasn't been decided yet.

Donovan wasn't at the team's first practice on Monday, when coach Bruce Arena said the Galaxy captain has been given more time off.

Arena says Donovan is ``definitely playing this year.''

AUTO RACING

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Texas Motor Speedway will offer some frontstretch tickets at its lowest prices in 15 years for NASCAR Sprint Cup races at the track.

The track will offer about 8,000 frontstretch seats for $49 for each of its two Cup races, and has lowered prices on about 7,400 other seats.

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Proposed NFL rule change would eliminate Ravens' intentional holding strategy

Proposed NFL rule change would eliminate Ravens' intentional holding strategy

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

It made everyone do a double-take, then it made perfect sense to non-Cincinnati and non-Pittsburgh fans.

Back in Week 12 when the Baltimore Ravens held off the Cincinnati Bengals 19-14, it wasn't a single touchdown that made national headlines. Rather it was a game ending safety that cut a seven-point deficit to only five. 

On the final play, numerous Ravens players held the opposing Bengals, who were setting up to receive punt, with 11 seconds left on the clock. Punter Sam Koch, just sat back, draining the clock before finally running out the back of the end zone with the clock at zero. 

SEE LINK FOR FULL RULE EXPLANATION

Thursday it was proposed to the NFL's Competition Committee to make plays like this illegal. 

While it may be considered unfair to some, making this new rule would simply add to an already expanding rule book and only be used for a select handful of plays a year, maybe. 

Eliminating cleverness of coaches that are well versed in the NFL rule book, should not be the approach of the of rule adaptations. There is no impact on player safety nor does it make the game 'more watchable' (like the extra-point rule).

Not only that, but the new proposed rule just leaves another set of loopholes for coaches to take advantage of at the end of a game. What if team trying to score on the last play commits two offensive penalties just to get another shot at the endzone?

But before making a massive overhaul to fix all of the loopholes in the NFL rule book, can we establish what a catch is first?

MORE RAVENS: Tony Jefferson used Madden to make free agency decision

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Ravens mock draft roundup: Mike Williams continues to pop up

Ravens mock draft roundup: Mike Williams continues to pop up

Just over a month away from the NFL Draft, mock drafts across sport media sites are beginning to narrow in on players that fit specifically into blaring holes on a team's roster.

As the first wave of free agency has come through, a majority of the top names at each position has been snatched up. While the Baltimore Ravens can still sign a handful of free agents on the open market, getting backup or a young star in a key position can be a the primary goal. 

Here's a look at who some of the various analysts have the Ravens taking with their No. 16 pick in the first round. The general consensus is help in the defensive secondary and at the wide receiver position.

DE Taco Charlton, Michigan, Ben Standig, CSN-Mid Atlantic

Standing: At some point the Ravens must find an edge pass rushing replacement for Terrell Suggs. Charlton might be better stopping the run than rushing the passer right now and yet he had nine sacks in 10 regular season games.  

SEE STANDIG'S FULL 2017 MOCK DRAFT

SS Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, Rob Rang, CBS Sports

Rang: With starting safety Matt Elam a pending free agent and Eric Weddle poised to enter his 11th NFL season, the Ravens may very well be looking for help in the secondary in the 2017 draft. Peppers starred as a linebacker in 2016 but possesses the agility and speed to handle coverage.

WR Mike Williams, Clemson, Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

Brugler: The Ravens have plenty of speed at receiver, but only average size. Williams has only average speed, but his body control, catch radius and overall size are where he shines.

WR John Ross, Washington, Bucky Brooks, NFL.com

Brooks: An electric playmaker with speed to burn would be a welcome addition to an offense that wants to play long ball with Joe Flacco at quarterback.

DE Charles Harris, Missouri, Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com

Jeremiah: Harris is a very productive edge rusher who is plenty athletic enough to drop in coverage if needed.

WR Mike Williams, Clemson, Chris Burke, SI.com

Burke: Baltimore has two receivers, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, who can scorch defenses deep. They need a physical, intermediate threat. Check.

CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, Peter Schragers, FOX Sports

Schragers: I seem to be a lot higher on Humphrey than other mock draft pundits. Oh well. I’ll ride with the star of the Alabama defensive backfield from last season. The son of NFL running back Bobby Humphrey, he was a stud at the well-known Hoover High and a prime recruit of Nick Saban’s. An opportunistic player who started for two seasons in Tuscaloosa, Humphrey forced three fumbles and intercepted two passes in 2016. Baltimore already has added Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson to its defensive backfield but might not be done.

RELATED: REDSKINS MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP