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Chargers' Gates given 4-game suspension

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SAN DIEGO (AP) Antonio Gates' squeaky-clean image took a big hit Thursday when the San Diego Chargers' star tight end was suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The NFL said in a statement that Gates can participate in training camp and exhibition games. He will be able to return to the active roster on Oct. 5, a day after the Chargers' game against the Cleveland Browns.

One of the NFL's top tight ends for more than a decade, Gates has had a Hall of Fame-caliber career after joining the Chargers as an undrafted rookie in 2003 following a college basketball career.

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Cowboys LB McClain suspended 4 games

IRVING, Texas (AP) Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, putting two key Dallas defenders on the sideline to start the season with pass rusher Greg Hardy's 10-game ban.

The league said in a statement Thursday that McClain would be suspended without pay and eligible to return for Dallas' Week 5 game against New England. He can participate in training camp and all four preseason games.

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Jets DL Richardson handed 4-game ban

NEW YORK (AP) New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season on Thursday for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Richardson will be eligible to return to the Jets' active roster on Monday, Oct. 5 after the team's Oct. 4 game against the AFC East rival Miami Dolphins.

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Lions Hall of Fame TE Sanders dies at 68

DETROIT (AP) Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders epitomized Detroit's blue-collar roots.

Fans adored his gritty work ethic. Teammates embraced his leadership. Coaches found him to be a prized pupil and a talented teacher. And when Detroit's booming economy became the American standard, Sanders was rewriting football history with a trend-setting career.

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Packers' Jones banned for season opener

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Packers defensive end Datone Jones has been suspended for the first game this season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

The league said in a statement Thursday that Jones will be out for the Sept. 13 game at Chicago and eligible to return for the home opener in Week 2 against Seattle.

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Texans release DL Ivory after arrest

HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Texans have released defensive lineman Brandon Ivory a day after he was charged in a residential burglary in Tuscaloosa.

The team announced his departure on Thursday. The 23-year-old Ivory, a former Alabama standout, signed a free-agent contract with the Texans in May.

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Steelers looking to host 2023 Super Bowl

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping to turn the 2023 Super Bowl into a home game.

The franchise submitted an application at the owner's meetings in May for the right to bid on the 2023 Super Bowl. It's the first time the Steelers - whose six Super Bowl victories are the most in the NFL - and city have sent in an application to host the title game. The NFL will not open up the actual bidding for the game until 2018. The vote on who will host the 2023 Super Bowl won't come until 2019.

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LB Spikes pleads guilty in hit-and-run

WRENTHAM, Mass. (AP) Former Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes has pleaded guilty in a hit-and-run crash that injured three people and will serve a year of probation.

Spikes appeared Wednesday in court in Wrentham, Massachusetts, where he admitted negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of personal injury, operating an uninsured vehicle, speeding and a marked-lanes violation.

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Bills add OT Hunter, last played in 2012

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) The Buffalo Bills are providing offensive tackle Wayne Hunter an opportunity to revive his career.

Hunter signed with the Bills on Wednesday. The 6-foot-5 and 318-pound Hunter has been out of football since being released by St. Louis following the 2012 season.

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Hernandez murder conviction to stand

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) A Massachusetts judge who oversaw the trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez has rejected a request to throw out his first-degree murder conviction or reduce it to second-degree murder.

Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh turned down a motion for a required finding of not guilty in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd. A jury convicted Hernandez in April. The motion was a procedural step that had to be taken before an appeal.

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