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BC-Sports Preview Digest

BC-Sports Preview Digest

Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Wednesday. A full Sports Digest will be sent about 3 p.m. All times EST:

- A day before Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey airs, the sports world knows that he confessed to doping. Still a mystery is exactly what he admitted to.

- FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Tom Brady has faced some tough times against the Baltimore Ravens. His passer rating is lower against them than against any other team. On Sunday, he gets a chance to turn that around when the New England Patriots play the Ravens in the AFC championship game.

- SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Despite all those gaudy statistics and impressive physical skills, Colin Kaepernick faced plenty of questions coming out of Nevada about whether he was the product of a gimmicky college offense that would have no chance of working in the pros.

- OWINGS MILLS, Md. - Ray Lewis sure doesn't look the part of an aging linebacker on the brink of retirement. Lewis has led the Ravens in tackles in each of the past two games and looks as though he could play into his 40s, even though he insists his career will draw to a close when Baltimore's playoff run ends.

- MELBOURNE, Australia - Novak Djokovic is all but perfect in his second-round match against Ryan Harrison, beating the 20-year-old American 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 to stay on track for his third consecutive Australian Open title and the fourth of his career.

- CHICAGO - The Bears hire Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman to replace the fired Lovie Smith, hoping he can get the most out of quarterback Jay Cutler and make Chicago a playoff team on a consistent basis.

- OAKLAND, Calif. - LeBron James can become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000 points when the slumping Miami Heat visit the upstart Golden State Warriors. James needs 18 points to reach the milestone.

- BOSTON - Rookie Austin Rivers faces his father, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, in the NBA for the first time when the New Orleans Hornets play Boston.

- SALT LAKE CITY - The player who nearly died after collapsing on the basketball court six weeks ago ran a mile the other day. Unless Utah State's Danny Berger takes his shirt off to reveal where a defibrillator has been implanted in his chest, he seems like any 22-year-old college athlete.

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Keenum's concussion vs. Ravens likely played part in new NFL guidelines

Keenum's concussion vs. Ravens likely played part in new NFL guidelines

The concussion suffered last year by Rams quarterback Case Keenum against the Ravens, and the way it was handled, surely played a part in new punishment announced Monday by the NFL for teams violating the league’s concussion protocol.

The Players Association and the league made a joint announcement about the new standards.

Under the new policy, teams could be fined anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 for a first violation of the concussion protocol, or suffer loss of draft picks. For a second violation, the minimum fine will be $100,000.

Major concerns about enforcing in-game concussion protocol were raised during a November game last year at M&T Bank Stadium between the Rams and Ravens.

With just over a minute left to play, Ravens defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan sacked Keenum, and the back of his head slammed violently against the turf. Keenum held his head while lying on the ground and initially had trouble getting to his feet.  

The Rams’ athletic trainer ran onto the field to check on Keenum, but he remained in the game. Keenum fumbled two plays later, and after the game, it was announced he had suffered a concussion.

The league investigated the Rams’ handling of the situation and the team was not fined. However, not everyone was satisfied, including NFLPA president Eric Winston.

“Show me someone that says, ‘No, the Rams did exactly the right thing,”’ Winston told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last year. “They didn’t. Everybody knows they didn’t.  So there has to be discipline, right? Because when a player doesn’t do something that he’s supposed to do, he gets fined for that when it comes to health and safety.”

As a result, the NFL and the Players Association have agreed on punishment that could help protect players who have been concussed.

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New commercial shows Flacco should just buy cars, not sell them

New commercial shows Flacco should just buy cars, not sell them

Fortunately for Joe Flacco, he was born with an arm meant for chucking footballs prodigious distances and a body destined to stand in an NFL pocket. That's because — if he wasn't in possession of these gifts and didn't have the work ethic to put them to good use — he may not be cut out for everyday life and a typical job.

Last year, a Pepsi and Tostitos commercial came out and showed that the Ravens quarterback was clueless when it came to party throwing. A recent Ford ad, meanwhile, is demonstrating that No. 5 should stick to purchasing vehicles as opposed to selling them.

Here's the spot in its entirety:

Trying to convince someone to buy a car because it's "like two motorcycles stuck together" is not exactly the best selling point. As the commercial concludes, letting Flacco focus on the field and the professionals take care of everything else is the most ideal use of everyone's time.

RELATED: RAVENS SHOULD CONSIDER A RUNNING BACK BY COMMITTEE APPROACH

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NFL great Jim Brown worked with league to reinstate Josh Gordon

NFL great Jim Brown worked with league to reinstate Josh Gordon

Jim Brown, one of the greatest NFL players of all time, has been actively involved in trying to rehabilitate the career of Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon.

In his role as a special advisor with the team, Brown has been in contact with Gordon, who was conditionally reinstated by the NFL on Monday.

Gordon has been suspended 27 of the Browns’ last 32 games due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The league announced Monday that Gordon would still be suspended the first four games of the 2016 season, but could be reintstated Week 5.

Gordon can join the Browns when they begin training camp Thursday, and participate in team meetings and activities. If Gordon meets all of the league’s behavior requirements during his suspension, he can return in Week 5. He will miss the Ravens-Browns game Week 2 in Cleveland, but could Gordon could face the Ravens when they host the Browns in Week 10.

Gordon is an extraordinary talent, who led the NFL in receiving yards in 2013, with 1,646 yards in just 14 games. Plenty of people, including Brown, are hoping Gordon has finally put his problems behind him.

“I’ve talked with Josh twice on the phone, and the last time I talked with him he sounded very motivated and I think he was in rehab and feeling good about it and discovering some things about himself,” Brown told Cleveland.com. “He really seemed ready to take responsibility for himself.”

Robert Griffin III and all the Browns’ quarterbacks will certainly be glad to see Gordon in camp. Ironically, Gordon’s 2016 debut could come against the Patriots in Week 5, who will also be expecting quarterback Tom Brady to return from his four-game suspension for Deflategate.