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NFL Considering Changes to Combine Drills

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Each year college players hoping to make it in the NFL must participate in what is often dubbed the "Underwear Olympics."

What was once intended as a convenient location to gather medical information has become a media spectacle: watching athletes bench press 225 lbs. and run a 40-yard dash.

Now some in the League Office would like to make adjustments.

"We run the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. Why? The only reason anyone can ever give you is, that's how it's always been done," said Matt Birk, the league's director of player development.

In order to more accurately gauge players to their projected position, the hope is to tweak the tradition 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and short shuttles.

"That's a project we'll be working on this offseason,"Birk said. "Once we look at the data that was gathered in-game this year, it may be important to know how fast a wide receiver or defensive back can go 60 yards. Maybe for an offensive lineman it's only 20 yards.

"We can actually see that in-game: how far are these guys running? What are the real or improved measures of importance and value as it relates to evaluating players and whether or not they should be drafted in the first round or the sixth round?"

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton also supports the potential changes.

"I think you'll gradually see position-specific change where it won't be just one whole new set of drills," he said. "It will gradually phase itself in as we know more and more what we're looking for for an offensive lineman, compared to a running back."

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NFL Appeals Adrian Peterson Ruling

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Football League is not pleased with Minnesota Judge David Doty's ruling to reinstate Viking's running back Adrian Peterson.

Hours after Thursday's ruling, the NFL appealed Judge Doty's decision to overturn the suspension of Peterson in federal court. Additionally, the NFL placed Peterson back on the Commissioner's Exempt List. 

The NFL released a statement:

"Judge Doty’s order did not contain any determinations concerning the fairness of the appeals process under the CBA, including the commissioner’s longstanding authority to appoint a designee to act as hearing officer. Even so, we believe strongly that Judge Doty’s order is incorrect and fundamentally at odds with well-established legal precedent governing the district court’s role in reviewing arbitration decisions. As a result, we have filed a notice of appeal to have the ruling reviewed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the interim, Adrian Peterson will be returned to the Commissioner Exempt List pending further proceedings by appeals officer Harold Henderson or a determination by the Eighth Circuit Court."

Peterson is set to count for $15.4 million against the Vikings salary cap this season. The team has made public statements saying they would welcome him back, however the running back may not wish to return and privately the team may not want him back either.

Last week, Peterson's agent Ben Dogra had to be separated from Vikings President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski after the two engaged in an altercation regarding the running back's future in Minnesota.

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Vanderbilt Basketball Coach Apologizes for Postgame Remark

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tn.) -- Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings has issued an apology for an "inappropriate comment" during the postgame handshakes of a victory over Tennessee.

Stallings was seen berating Commodores freshman guard Wade Baldwin, Jr. and was overheard yelling "I'll f***ing kill you," after being informed by a Tennessee assistant coach that Baldwin was clapping in the face of Volunteers players.

Friday Stallings released a statement:

"One of our players acted inappropriately and violated what we believe is good sportsmanship following the game," Stallings said. "In my haste to resolve the situation, I made a very inappropriate comment. While obviously it was not meant literally, it was still inappropriate. I apologized to the player immediately following the game. Displaying good sportsmanship is of the highest priority in our program, win or lose. I am very remorseful of my actions tonight."

Baldwin tweeted out after the game: "Coach Stallings is the best coach in America. I felt no offense to anything. We are both fiery people and that's why I chose Vandy."

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RB Steven Jackson Released by Falcons

Leon Halip/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Atlanta Falcons released the NFL's active leader in rushing yards (11,388) running back Steven Jackson on Thursday.

The 31-year-old Jackson still had one year left on the three-year contract he signed with the team. The move saves the Falcons $3.75 million against the salary cap.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Jackson originally was selected with the 24th overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. He played nine seasons in St. Louis before playing the last two in Atlanta. During that time he's carried the ball 2,743 times, averaging 4.2 yards per touch while scoring 68 touchdowns. He also caught 460 balls for 3,663 yards and nine touchdowns. Jackson had 190 carries for 707 yards and six touchdowns last season.

With Jackson gone, the Falcons are left with youngster Devonta Freeman as their only signed running back. Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith are about to become free agents.

The Falcons ranked 24th in the NFL with 93.6 rushing yards per game last season.

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Blue Jackets Trade Horton for Clarkson

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- The Columbus Blue Jackets traded injured winger Nathan Horton to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for winger David Clarkson, Thursday.

The 29-year-old Horton has missed most of this season with a back injury that some are afraid may be career threatening.

“David Clarkson has been a 30-goal scorer in the NHL who will bring added character and leadership to our group and we believe he will be a valuable contributor to our team,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “While we are excited to welcome David to the Blue Jackets, it is also difficult that Nathan’s time here has ended prematurely due to his injury situation. He is a tremendous person and we wish him and his family all the best in the future.”

Clarkson, 30, signed a seven-year, $36.75 million deal with the Maple Leafs in July 2013. He struggled since his arrival in Toronto, tallying just 26 points in 118 games.

Horton has played 10 seasons in the NHL with Florida (6), Boston (3) and Columbus (1). During that time he played in 627 games, scoring 203 goals while dishing out 218 assists. He also won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011.

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Panthers Acquire Jagr from Devils

Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images(SUNRISE, Fla.) -- The Florida Panthers have acquired winger Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2016.

The Panthers are fighting for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and Jagr's presence should make that goal more obtainable.

The 43-year-old, five-time scoring champion has 11 goals and 18 assists in 57 games this season.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Jagr won back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992. Following the 1998-99 season, Jagr received the Hart Memorial Trophy which is given to the player deemed most valuable to his team.

Jagr currently ranks first among active NHL leaders in points (1,784), games played (1,530), assists (1,068), goals (716), power play goals (202), and plus/minus ( 284).

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Paul George Practices in Full

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- After missing close to seven months due to a broken leg, Pacers forward Paul George participated in and finished his first full practice Thursday.

Originally George was supposed to miss the season, but he recently came out saying that he could be ready for game-action by mid-March.

The 24-year-old George said on Thursday that he needs to improve his conditioning and move better than he did during practice to get back to his All-Star form.

Despite the positive results of Thursday, there's still no timetable for George's return.

"Paul is not going to be out there unless he's Paul George," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "He's eager to get back on the court, but not before he's ready. Once he's mentally cleared to play in a game, he's still got to be ready to (actually) play in a game."

George is a big reason why the Pacers made the Eastern Conference finals the past two seasons. He averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.9 steals per game last season.

The Pacers (23-34) are currently one game behind Brooklyn for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

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Scoreboard Roundup - 2/26/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers 110 (37-22) – Golden State Warriors 99 (44-11)

Phoenix Suns 117 (31-28) - Oklahoma City Thunder 113 (32-26) OT

Top 25 Men’s College Basketball: (3) Gonzaga 59 (29-1) - San Diego 39 (14-15)

(7) Arizona 82 (25-3) – Colorado 54 (12-15)

(13) Utah 83 (22-5) - Arizona State 41 (15-13)

(21) SMU 66 (23-5) – Memphis 57 (17-11)

NHL: Buffalo Sabres 6 (19-38-5; 43pts) – Vancouver Canucks 3 (35-23-3; 73pts)

Montreal Canadiens 5 (40-16-5; 85pts) – Columbus Blue Jackets 2 (26-30-4; 56pts)

New York Rangers 4 (38-16-6; 82pts) – Arizona Coyotes 3 (20-35-7; 47pts)

Toronto Maple Leafs 3 (25-31-5; 55pts) – Philadelphia Flyers 2 (26-25-11; 63pts)

Chicago Blackhawks 3 (37-20-5; 79pts) – Florida Panthers 0 (26-22-13; 65pts)

St. Louis Blues 2 (39-18-4; 82pts) – Winnipeg Jets 1 (31-20-12; 74pts) SO

Minnesota Wild 4 (32-22-7; 71pts) – Nashville Predators 2 (41-14-7; 89pts) 

Detroit Red Wings 3 (34-15-11, 79pts) - San Jose Sharks 2 (30-24-8, 68pts)

Ottawa Senators 1 (26-23-10, 62pts) - Los Angeles Kings 0 (29-19-12, 70pts)

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Titans OT Michael Roos Retires

Banana Stock/Getty Images(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Tennessee Titans left tackle Michael Roos is hanging up his helmet for good after 10 seasons in the NFL, the club announced on Thursday.

“I’m excited to begin the rest of my life, and I am grateful to do so now, while I am full healthy,” Roos said on his Instagram account.

The Titans originally selected Roos out of Eastern Washington in the second round of the 2005 NFL draft.  He played in 148 career games, recording one fumble recovery.

“On behalf of the organization, I want to thank Michael for his 10 years of outstanding play for our franchise,” Titans CEO & President Tommy Smith said in a statement. “On a weekly basis, he was a player that you could count on to play his best, year after year. He was a true pro and I am thrilled that he was able to play his entire career as a Titan.”

Roos was a three-time All-Pro and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2008.

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Judge Rules in Favor of Vikings RB Adrian Peterson

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is a step closer to being reinstated into the NFL.

Judge David Doty ruled on Peterson's behalf in the NFL Player Association's lawsuit against the NFL.

The judge stated that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acted outside his authority in November, after he suspended Peterson until at least April 15 for disciplining his four-year-old son by hitting him with a switch last May.

"This is a victory for the rule of law, due process and fairness. Our collective bargaining agreement has rules for implementation of the personal conduct policy and when those rules are violated, our union always stands up to protect our players' rights," the NFLPA said in a statement.  

"This is yet another example why neutral arbitration is good for our players, good for the owners and good for our game," the statement continued.

The Vikings will have to decide what they'll do with Peterson -- whether it is a trade, restructure his contract, or release him.

Peterson told that he's had some reservations about returning to Minnesota.

The NFL can appeal Peterson's reinstatement and NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league will "review the decision.''

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