4 SUPER BOWL CHAMPS ARE HALL FINALISTS: INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Super Bowl winners Charles Haley, Bill Parcells, Jerome Bettis and Ed DeBartolo Jr. are among 17 finalists who will learn Saturday if they are voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Haley is the only player to win five Super Bowls, two with the 49ers and three with Dallas. DeBartolo owned the San Francisco team that won five NFL titles from 1981-1994.
Parcells coached the Giants to Super Bowl wins in 1987 and 2001. He also took the Patriots to the 1997 game they lost to Green Bay.
Bettis helped the Steelers win the 2006 Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit.
Other finalists are Curtis Martin, Cris Carter, Tim Brown, Andre Reed, Chris Doleman, Dermontti Dawson, Kevin Greene, Cortez Kennedy, Willie Roaf, Aenaes Williams, first-year nominee Will Shields, and senior committee nominees Jack Butler and Dick Stanfel.
OHIO STATE AD DEFENDS MEYER'S RECRUITING PRACTICES: COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith has jumped to the defense of new football coach Urban Meyer, who has been accused of poaching recruits who had already committed to other Big Ten programs.
Meyer's first recruiting class on Wednesday included eight players who initially had said they were attending another school, including four who originally said they were going to Penn State and one each who had declared they would go to Michigan State and Wisconsin.
Coaches from Michigan State and Wisconsin have publicly questioned the Buckeyes' recruiting practices.
Smith said those coaches should have followed proper procedure by taking their complaints to their ADs. He also said Meyer and his staff have a "compliance conscience."
UCONN'S CALHOUN TAKING INDEFINITE MEDICAL LEAVE: STORRS, Conn. (AP) — University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun is taking an indefinite medical leave of absence.
The Hall of Fame coach, who turns 70 in May, has been suffering for several months from spinal stenosis, a lower back condition that causes him severe pain and hampers mobility, the school said Friday in a news release.
George Blaney, the team's associate head coach, will lead the team in Calhoun's absence, the school said.
Calhoun, who is in his 40th season as a head coach and 26th at UConn has a history of health problems that includes several bouts with cancer. He is No. 6 on the all-time wins list with 867.
The Huskies (14-7, 4-5 Big East) have lost four games in a row, and host Seton Hall on Saturday.
AP SOURCE: KAMAN RETURNING TO HORNETS SOON: NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Hornets have decided to reactivate 7-foot center Chris Kaman, who had been excused from team activities since last week while the club sought to trade him, according to a person familiar with the decision.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced. Kaman likely won't join the Hornets for Saturday's game at Detroit but probably will return Monday against Sacramento.
The person said the relationship between Kaman and Hornets coach Monty Williams was fine. But when general manager Dell Demps hoped a trade would develop quickly, Williams wanted to start working younger players into the rotation.
Once a trade didn't happen as quickly as they thought, it made sense to bring Kaman back, the person said.
Kaman, 29, was acquired by New Orleans in the multiplayer trade that sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers before the season, but has struggled to find a consistent role with the Hornets. He's mostly backed up center Emeka Okafor.
US CHAMP ABBOTT OUT OF FOUR CONTINENTS WITH INJURY: COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Three-time U.S. figure skating champion Jeremy Abbott has withdrawn from next week's Four Continents because of a right hip injury.
Abbott was replaced Friday by Richard Dornbush, who finished 13th at last week's U.S. championships but was fifth in the free skate. Dornbush was the silver medalist at the 2010 U.S. championships and was the top U.S. skater at the world championships, finishing ninth. Adam Rippon, who was second to Abbott at nationals, and Ross Miner, who was third, also will represent the United States.
Four Continents begins Thursday in Colorado Springs, Colo. It draws skaters from the United States, Canada and Japan, including reigning world champion Patrick Chan.