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Sports briefs for Jan. 22, 2013

By From wire service reports

New imaging study finds CTE in living ex-NFL players

Medical researchers looking into concussions have found changes in the brains of football players who are still alive, which could lead to preventative measures, according to an NBC Sports report.

New brain imaging techniques have detected abnormal tau proteins in five retired NFL players. While that doesn’t necessarily “prove the existence of or predict the development of Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, it’s the first time that abnormal tau proteins that can lead to CTE have been detected via a method other than an autopsy,” the report said.

The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry published the findings Tuesday. The study said such a development could lead to “early recognition and intervention” and is a “critical first step to developing interventions to prevent symptoms onset and progression.”

Sandy Koufax returns to Dodgers

One of the greatest pitchers in Dodgers history is returning to the organization.

Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax, who pitched for the team in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, has been hired as a special assistant to chairman Mark Walter. He’ll work with Dodgers pitchers in Spring Training and to serve as a consultant throughout the season.

The 77-year-old spent 12 years in the major leagues and went 165-87, including a 111-34 from 1962-66. He retired at 30 having won three Cy Young Awards and thrown four no-hitters.

Phillies sign Delmon Young

The Philadelphia Phillies signed troubled free-agent outfielder Delmon Young to a one-year, $750,000 contract, the team announced Tuesday.

The deal includes incentive.

“Delmon is an experienced major league bat who will add some depth to our relatively

inexperienced outfield and another layer of competition for playing time there as well,”

general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement.

The first overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, Young finished second in American League rookie of the year voting in 2007. Since, his career has been hurt by poor on-field performances and off-the-field controversy.

He was suspended for seven days by Major League Baseball for yelling anti-Semitic slurs

outside of a New York hotel in April 2012. He apologized and completed a counseling and

community service program.

Banned Williams allowed to pursue coaching jobs

Suspended defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is allowed to pursue an NFL coaching job, though commissioner Roger Goodell plans to review his reinstatement should he find one, according to an NFL.com report.

Williams has been suspended indefinitely for his role in the New Orleans Saints’ “bounty” scandal. He was hired last offseason as defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams, but won’t return there, a Rams source told NFL.com’s Albert Breer.

Eight new head coaches will be filling out staffs around the league, but the fact Goodell would still need to render a decision on reinstatement may keep teams away.

Federer skips Switzerland’s Davis Cup opener

LONDON — Davis Cup champions the Czech Republic will not have to worry about facing Roger Federer in the opening round of their defence after he was left out of Switzerland’s team for the Geneva tie.

The 17-time grand slam champion, still contesting the Australian Open where he will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last eight on Wednesday, played twice for his country last year but has decided to sit it out the Czech clash.

Tomas Berdych will spearhead the Czech challenge in the tie taking place from Feb. 1-3.

Other notable absentees from first-round action are Juan Martin del Potro, who was not named in Argentina’s team to play Germany in Buenos Aires, and Australian Open semi-finalist David Ferrer who is not in Spain’s squad to play in Canada.

Former U.S. Open champion Del Potro said last month that he would not be playing Davis Cup this year.

Grizzlies, Cavaliers agree to deal

The Memphis Grizzlies and the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to a multiplayer trade, according to an ESPN.com report.

The deal would allow the Grizzlies to slice $6 million in payroll and get under the luxury tax threshold. Memphis would deal Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby to the Cavs for Jon Leuer.

Cleveland also lands a future first-round pick.

Speights has averaged 6.5 points and 4.7 rebounds as a big man off the bench for the Grizzlies, but earns $4.2 million this season. He has a $4.5 million player option for next season. Ellington has averaged 5.5 points in 40 games off the bench for the Grizzlies.

Selby has only played in 10 games this season, averaging two points. Leuer has played in nine games, averaging 2.4 points.

Home of Patriots’ Martin robbed

The suburban Denver home of New England Patriots defensive back Derrick Martin was robbed while he was playing in the AFC championship game.

Aurora police spokesman Frank Fania told The Denver Post that two masked burgalars forced their way into Martin’s home Sunday night while there was at least one adult and several children present. They took many items, but no one suffered injuries.

Martin is a local product. He attended Denver’s Thomas Jefferson High School.

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