Sports Extra

NHL

Avs’ blue line gets Johnson for four more years

DENVER – Top-scoring defenseman Erik Johnson is staying with the Colorado Avalanche. The team announced Tuesday it signed the 24-year-old restricted free agent to a four-year contract. The terms weren’t released.

Johnson led all Avalanche defensemen last season with 26 points in 73 games.

The Bloomington, Minn., native won a silver medal while playing with the U.S. team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He was drafted No. 1 overall by St. Louis in the 2006 NHL entry draft. Colorado acquired him from the Blues in a 2011 trade.

USA Basketball

A hobbled USA hoops team will start practicing Friday

NEW YORK – The U.S. plans to stick with its short-handed men’s Olympic basketball team – at least for now.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Monday he has no plans to make any additions to the roster, despite another wave of injuries.

USA already was granted one extension by the U.S. Olympic Committee to add Anthony Davis and James Harden to its group of finalists after the deadline passed for players to be entered in the drug testing pool. Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh since have pulled out with injuries.

The remaining healthy Americans will hold their first practice Friday and will unveil the roster Saturday night.

MLB

Gerry Davis gets the plate, will crew the All-Star game

NEW YORK – Gerry Davis will be the home plate umpire for next week’s All-Star game, the second time the 29-year veteran will serve as crew chief for the exhibition.

Davis, who also worked the plate for the infamous 7-7, 11-inning tie at Milwaukee in 2002, will be joined next Tuesday in Kansas City by Jim Joyce (first), Brian Runge (second), Tony Randazzo (third), Lance Barksdale (left) and Brian Knight (right).

NFL

Goodell upholds suspensions for four of the bounty players

NEW ORLEANS – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rejected the appeals of four players suspended in connection with the league’s bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints.

In a ruling Tuesday, Goodell told Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita that he retains “the inherent authority to reduce a suspension should facts be brought to my attention warranting the exercise of that discretion.”

Vilma is suspended for the entire 2012 season, while Smith will miss four games. Hargrove, now with Green Bay, was suspended eight games, while Fujita, now with Cleveland, was suspended three games.

Wind shifts in Brees’ favor in franchise tag matter

NEW ORLEANS – An arbitrator in Philadelphia ruled in Drew Brees’ favor in a dispute over how much the Saints would have to pay him if they applied the franchise tag to the star quarterback again in 2013.

The ruling adds leverage to Brees, who has so far skipped the Saints’ offseason practices while holding out for a new longterm contract with New Orleans.

The Saints already have used the tag on Brees for 2012, and arbitrator Stephen Burbank’s ruling Tuesday said if New Orleans tries to tag Brees a second year in a row, he would be entitled to a 44-percent raise to more than $23 million because it would be his third-career franchise tag.

College Football

ACC announces 12-year deal with the Orange Bowl

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Atlantic Coast Conference will remain tied to the Orange Bowl.

The league Tuesday announced a 12-year agreement with the bowl beginning after the 2014 season. It said details on the opponent and broadcast partner will come later. The Orange Bowl will be played annually Jan. 1.

Associated Press