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NFL notebook: Richardson, Gates, McClain suspended four games

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New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson, San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain were suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for a violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse program.

Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones was suspended for one game for violating the policy.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans. However, words aren’t enough,” Richardson said. “This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don’t want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won’t be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I’m able to return to the field.”

Gates acknowledged that he took supplements during the offseason but said he did not knowingly use a banned substance. The 12-year veteran won’t be eligible to return to the active roster until Oct. 5, the day after a game against the Cleveland Browns.

—Charlie Sanders, a Hall of Fame tight end for the Detroit Lions, died Thursday after a short battle with cancer. He was 68.

Sanders was diagnosed with cancer in November when doctors found a tumor in his right knee as he was being prepared for knee replacement surgery.

He was a seven-time Pro Bowl tight end in 10 seasons with the Lions (1968-77), and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007. When he retired in 1978, he held the Lions’ record with 336 receptions.

—A bid for a new NFL stadium in Washington could be blocked unless the franchise is willing to change the team name from Redskins.

The Washington Post reported that Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the Washington, D.C., mayor that the National Park Service, which owns the land beneath RFK Stadium, was unlikely to allow construction of a new stadium unless the team changed its name.

President Barack Obama has objected to the team name and questioned claims that the longtime use of Redskins is not offensive.

—The Colts signed undrafted linebacker Justin Shirk and waived defensive end Camaron Beard, an undrafted free agent from Cincinnati.

Shirk played in 45 games over his four-year career at Bloomsburg and finished with 392 tackles, 45.0 tackles for loss, 18.0 sacks, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. He earned conference honors in each of his four collegiate seasons.

Beard played in 41 games at Cincinnati.


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