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Sports briefs for April 30, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Jaguars’ Blackmon suspended four games

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon received a four-game suspension to start the 2013 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Blackmon, who pleaded guilty to DUI in July, can return Sept. 30, the league announced.

“I’ve made a mistake and I have no excuse,” Blackmon said in a statement. “I am truly sorry and disappointed in myself for putting the Jaguars in this situation. I look forward to putting this behind me and maturing and growing as a person.”

Blackmon was arrested during a traffic stop in Oklahoma June 3, and later took a breath test that allegedly showed his blood-alcohol content to be three times the legal limit. An Oklahoma judge accepted Blackmon’s plea and deferred his sentence for one year. Blackmon had to pay a $500 fine, $100 to a drug abuse and treatment fund and complete 50 hours of community service.

The fifth overall pick by the Jaguars in 2012, Blackmon had 64 receptions for 865 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season.

Raptors pursuing Phil Jackson

The Kings’ likelihood of staying in Sacramento could play a part in Phil Jackson landing in Toronto.

The Raptors are poised to make a strong push to lure the decorated former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers coach to Toronto as their new president, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com.

An owners’ committee recommended Monday that the Kings stay in Sacramento, rather than be sold to a Chris Hansen-led group and moved to Seattle. Hansen reportedly would’ve then offered Jackson the chance to oversee the Seattle franchise in the same way Pat Riley runs the Miami Heat.

With that no longer a possibility, the Raptors feel they have a shot at Jackson, largely because of his longtime friendship with Tim Leiweke. Leiweke was introduced last week as the new CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which oversees the Raptors, NHL’s Maple Leafs and Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.

Leiweke previously ran the company that owns the Los Angeles Kings and Los Angeles Galaxy.

After two years in retirement, Jackson is reportedly seeking to return to the game in which he led the Bulls and Lakers to a combined 11 NBA Championships. He told the San Francisco Chronicle last week that “three or four teams” have already expressed interest and that “none of it involves coaching.”

Driver Hamlin to return for Talladega

Denny Hamlin plans to start Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, but won’t finish it.

Hamlin tweeted Tuesday that he was cleared “just to start.” echoing what he said last weekend at Richmond International Raceway when doctors didn’t clear him for that race.

“They all came to the conclusion they were happy with me starting Talladega and getting out when it’s a safe time to get out,” Hamlin told reporters at RIR. “So … we’ll start our process at Talladega and then rescan again and try to go to Darlington.”

Barring any setbacks during practice or qualifying, Hamlin will return for the first time since suffering a compression fracture in his lower back on the final lap of the March 24 event at Auto Club Speedway in California.

Hamlin told ESPN.com that he would drop to the back of the pack at Talladega and drive until the first caution, then leave for backup driver Brian Vickers.

Phillies bring outfielder Young off DL

The Philadelphia Phillies activated outfielder Delmon Young from the 15-day disabled list and designated outfielder Ezequiel Carrera for assignment on Tuesday before opening a series in Cleveland.

Young was out while recovering from microfracuse surgery on his right ankle since signing with the Phillies in January. He’s expected to work his way back into the lineup as a designated hitter and then take over as the Phillies’ right fielder.

In seven rehab games with Class A Clearwater and Class AAA Lehigh Valley, Young hit .367 with two RBI.

Last year, Young batted .267 with 18 homers and 74 RBI in 151 games for the Detroit Tigers. The Phillies are his fourth team in eight years.

Yankees place Youkilis on DL

New York Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a lumbar spine sprain.

Youkilis, 34, had missed eight of the Yankees’ past nine games with the back issue. Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters that an MRI didn’t show anything, but Youkilis was scheduled to receive an epidural injection Tuesday to relieve discomfort.

He’s batting .266 with two homers and seven RBIs in 17 games. He played Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays, but felt pain Sunday.

“It was just one of those things waking up, and I didn’t feel right,” Youkilis told reporters Monday. “Sometimes, after your adrenaline’s gone, things occur to you. We’ve just got to find out what’s going on.”

Infielder Corban Joseph, 24, was recalled from Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes-Barre to replace Youkilis on the roster. Joseph was batting .273 with four homers and nine RBIs in 22 games.

Jaguars don’t want Tebow

The Jacksonville Jaguars have moved quickly to dispel any rumors about their interest in Tim Tebow, the recently released New York Jets quarterback, who won the Heisman Trophy playing at the University of Florida.

“The Jacksonville Jaguars’ plans do not include Tim Tebow,” Jim Woodcock, spokesman for team owner Shad Khan, wrote in an email to the Times-Union Monday.

The statement is consistent with the team’s position all along regarding Tebow, amid all the speculation that he would be cut by the Jets.

A year earlier, the Jaguars nearly landed Tebow from Denver, which had recently signed Peyton Manning. The team offered a fourth-round pick and a willingness to pay part of Tebow’s salary advance, but he was sent to the Jets instead, who offered Denver a similar deal.

Afterward, Khan told the paper that Tebow didn’t want to play for the Jaguars.

“He didn’t want to come, obviously. … Any one of the 53 players we have, have to be committed to Jacksonville, making us be the best team we are,” Khan said.

Alford, New Mexico in dispute over buyout

The dispute over how much Steve Alford must pay back to the University of New Mexico to leave appears far from a resolution, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Alford agreed to become UCLA’s new men’s basketball coach 10 days after agreeing to a 10-year extension with New Mexico. He told the Lobos Monday that he intends to comply with the terms of his previous contract, which called for a $200,000 buyout.

New Mexico maintains Alford owes $1 million as stipulated in the extension. The issue is whether the unsigned new contract had taken effect, and it will likely be decided by an independent arbitrator.

Alford’s new contract was scheduled to begin April 1, two days after he announced he was leaving. Because his previous deal stipulates he will give 30 days’ notice before leaving, New Mexico argues that his final day of work was 30 days after his resignation, meaning the $1 million buyout takes effect.

Alford signed an offer sheet March 18 agreeing to the extension that brings the $1 million buyout into play. His UCLA deal is for seven years, and $18.2 million.

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