ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — NFL owners have passed a rule allowing referees to consult with director of officiating Dean Blandino and his staff to help determine whether a call should be upheld or overturned. NFL officials said the change should speed up the process. Blandino and other staff will be monitoring the games from league offices in New York, and they will immediately begin reviewing challenges before the referee even gets to his monitor.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills owner and American Football League co-founder Ralph Wilson has died at 95. He was instrumental in the AFL/NFL merger and watched his team win four consecutive AFC championships from 1990-93 without winning the Super Bowl. Wilson had been in failing health for several years after hip surgery in 2011, two years after he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish has been scratched from his scheduled start in Monday’s season opener because of stiffness in his neck. Darvish is scheduled to return to Texas to be examined by a spine and back specialist. The Rangers haven’t said who will start the opener in Darvish’s place.
NEW YORK (AP) — People familiar with the negotiations tell The Associated Press that baseball players and management hope to reach a new drug agreement by Sunday. The new agreement would increase initial penalties for muscle-building steroids and decrease suspensions for some positive tests caused by unintentional use. The deal would also eliminate the loophole allowing Alex Rodriguez to earn almost $4 million during his season-long ban.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin will miss two to three weeks while recovering from a foot injury. The club says the former MVP was hurt during his first shift in Sunday’s 1-0 loss to St. Louis. Malkin is seventh in the league with 72 points despite missing 11 games for various reasons.