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Probe begins into Saints' wiretapping

NEWSWIRE

New Orleans Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt calls the allegations against General Manager Mickey Loomis 'absolutely ludicrous.'

April 24, 2012|Staff and wire reports
  • New Orleans assistant coach Joe Vitt takes part in a news conference at the team's practice facility on Tuesday.
New Orleans assistant coach Joe Vitt takes part in a news conference at the… (Brett Duke / Associated…)

While Louisiana state police and the FBI started a wiretapping probe into the New Orleans Saints and General Manager Mickey Loomis, assistant head coach Joe Vitt called allegations that Loomis had his Superdome booth wired so he could listen to opposing coaches "ludicrous."

"It's absolutely ludicrous. It's impossible," Vitt said Tuesday. "I've never heard of it before. That's something from `Star Wars.' When I first heard something about it being a wiretap, I thought they were talking about Sammy 'the Bull' Gravano or something. I didn't even know what they were talking about."

Vitt met with reporters for the first time since being appointed to serve in Coach Sean Payton's place during Payton's season-long suspension in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation of New Orleans. Vitt will have to serve a six-game suspension for his role in the cash-for-big hits system the Saints ran from 2009-11, and Loomis will be out for eight games.

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It's official: Andrew Luck will be the No. 1 choice by the Indianapolis Colts in Thursday night's NFL draft.

Rather than keeping the NFL's worst-kept secret under wraps until Luck's name rolled off the lips of Commissioner Roger Goodell, Colts GM Ryan Grigson decided there was no reason to delay the inevitable: Luck will become the successor to Peyton Manning as Indianapolis' quarterback and the new face of the franchise.

"We didn't the see the point in prolonging what the world already knows," Grigson told reporters Tuesday after a voluntary mini-camp workout. "It's about Andrew and we wanted to do the right thing by him."

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A group of former Dallas Cowboys including Hall of Famers Randy White, Bob Lilly and Rayfield Wright joined with other retired NFL players to file the latest concussion-related lawsuit against the NFL.

The suit, which accuses the league of ignoring a link between concussions and permanent brain injuries, was filed Tuesday in Houston's federal court and includes 28 former players among the plaintiffs.

SOCCER: Chelsea eliminates Barcelona in Champions semifinal

Visiting Chelsea eliminated defending champion Barcelona and reached the Champions League final with a grueling 2-2 tie Tuesday night, winning the semifinal on 3-2 aggregate despite playing most of the game a man short.

Seeking its first Champions League title, Chelsea advanced to the May 19 final at Munich. In the other semifinal, Real Madrid is home Wednesday trying to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Bayern Munich.

Barcelona trailed 1-0 from the first leg but took a 2-1 aggregate lead on goals by Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta.

Playing a man short after captain John Terry was given a red card in the 37th for fouling Alexis Sanchez, Chelsea rallied as Ramires scored on a lob over goalkeeper Victor Valdes in first-half injury time. That tied the aggregate and gave Chelsea the advantage on away goals. Chelsea substitute Fernando Torres sealed the win when he scored on a breakaway in the first minute of stoppage time.

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The top-ranked U.S. women's soccer team was drawn into Group G for this summer's Olympic Games, where it has been matched with 2011 World Cup qualifiers France, Colombia and North Korea.

The U.S. will begin play July 25 — two days before the Games officially open — against France at Hampden Park, Scotland's national stadium in Glasgow. The U.S. will play Colombia in its second match in Glasgow on July 28 before finishing group play against North Korea on July 31 at Old Trafford in Manchester.

—Kevin Baxter

Britain's Olympic team coach Stuart Pearce will travel to the United States next week to watch David Beckham play for the Galaxy before deciding whether to select the 36-year-old midfielder for the London Games.

MISCELLANY: Liaison will run in Kentucky Derby

Trainer Bob Baffert only needed to see Liaison run in Kentucky compared to California to decide to give the horse a chance in the Kentucky Derby.

"I'm going to run him," Baffert said Tuesday. "I love the way he went over this track. What a difference."

Liaison, sired by Indian Charlie, is coming off a string of poor performances at Santa Anita. The 3-year-old bay colt owned by Arnold Zetcher hasn't finished in the top three of any race so far in 2012 after winning the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park in December.

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The University of Texas Board of Regents voted not to let Texas El Paso's Sun Bowl host the scheduled June 16 middleweight title fight between champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Ireland's Andy Lee for security reasons.

—Lance Pugmire

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The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title contender Alistair Overeem until Dec. 27 after he tested positive for steroid use last month.

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