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Sports briefs for Aug. 14, 2013

By BDN Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

Meet the Black Bears clinic set Aug. 21

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine football team will host its annual Meet the Black Bears free football clinic on Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. at Alfond Stadium.

All ages are welcome and participants will have the opportunity to meet players and coaches, get free posters and autographs as well as free food and drinks!

Those interested may register by calling John Diamond at (207)-581-1086 or via email at GoBlackBears@Yahoo.com

Roof planned for U.S. Open’s Arthur Ashe stadium

The United States Tennis Association will reveal plans to build a retractable roof over the center court at Arthur Ashe Stadium as part of major changes to the U.S. Open venue in Flushing Meadows.

Bad weather has wrought havoc with the U.S. Open schedule in recent years with the men’s final, including last year’s epic between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, being pushed to Monday for each of the past five years.

The USTA announced a news conference for Thursday to detail the plans, which are part of a major overhaul of the venue, including the creation of two new stadiums at New York’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Despite frequent calls for a roof, last year the organization ruled out including one as part of the redevelopment, citing logistical issues.

Center courts at Wimbledon and the Australian Open have retractable roofs, while the French Open has announced plans to cover its main court.

McNabb on Griffin III: He’s ‘brainwashed’

Robert Griffin III has rebuffed attempts by Donovan McNabb to offer him advice and that is not going over well with the former NFL quarterback.

“I’m just trying to help him, but clearly the young generation think they have all the answers,” McNabb said Tuesday on his radio show.

“And he’s going through a little turmoil right now of trying to get out on the field. And it’s unfortunate, but that’s where we’re at right now as far as these young quarterbacks who think they have all the answers.

“I honestly think that over there in Washington he’s getting brainwashed. He’s getting input from whoever it may be on, ‘There’s no reason to talk to him, it didn’t work out here.’”

Griffin said in a GQ interview that “I don’t think Donovan is an idiot by any means. But right now, it’s probably best that we don’t talk.”

McNabb, who played one season for the Redskins and coach Mike Shanahan near the end of his career, wanted to speak with Griffin in the spring during his rehab from reconstructive knee surgery after watching the young quarterback spend time with the media.

49ers DT Dobbs suspended for season opener

San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2013 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

He was arrested in December on a misdemeanor possession of marijuana charger.

Dobbs, who finished last season on injured reserve with a knee injury, will be eligible to return to the active roster the day after the team’s Sept. 8 opener against the Green Bay Packers. He is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

Dobbs was the only player on the team who played on every special teams unit last season while also being a part of the defensive line rotation and even seeing some snaps at tight end in special packages.

“I appreciate all the support that I’ve had from my friends, my family and my fans,” Dobbs said following the arrest. “It’s very out of character for what happened. I made a dumb mistake, a dumb decision. I take full responsibility for it. Going forward, I can guarantee it won’t happen again. It’s not like me. I never had any problems before at all. It’s just a dumb decision that I take full responsibility for.”

Rams LB Dunbar suspended for four games

St. Louis Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar was suspended for four games without pay by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, the league announced Wednesday.

After sitting out the first four games of the regular season, Dunbar will be eligible to return to the active roster after the Rams’ game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 26.

In the meantime, Dunbar is permitted to practice and play in preseason games.

Dunbar, projected as a starting outside linebacker this season, is considered a strong run-stopper. He finished the 2012 season with 115 tackles, 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Will Witherspoon, recently signed by the Rams, is expected to move into Dunbar’s starting spot until he returns.

Pekovic agrees to stay with Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Wednesday that the team reached agreement with center Nikola Pekovic on a long-term contract.

The Timberwolves did not release contract details, but reports indicated that the 6-foot-11 Pekovic received a five-year, $60 million deal. According to ESPN, the package includes $8 million in incentives.

Pekovic was an unrestricted free agent but did not sign an offer sheet with another team and appeared intent on remaining with the Timberwolves.

The 27-year-old averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds last season in 62 games, all starts.

Lakers sign ex-Gonzaga star Harris

Forward Elias Harris signed a multi-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The former Gonzaga star averaged 10.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals while starting all five games for the Lakers’ Summer League team in Las Vegas.

Harris was a two-time All-West Coast Conference pick while at Gonzaga, and averaged 14.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals as a senior. He is fourth in program history with 1,857 career points and second with 979 rebounds.

A German native, Harris played for Team Germany in the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey and in the 2009 European Championships held in Poland.

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