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Smith, Te’o in running for linebacker award

Notre Dame could have one linebacker leave with a version of the Butkus Award and another linebacker coming in with another version of the honor that goes to the nation’s top linebacker.

Bishop Luers senior Jaylon Smith, a Notre Dame recruit, was named one of 12 semifinalists for the high school version Monday, and Irish senior Manti Te’o was named one of 12 semifinalists for the college version.

Smith, a 6-3, 217-pound outside linebacker, has 45 tackles with 11 1/2 for loss, two sacks and five pass breakups this season.

Te’o, who won the award in high school, is one of two repeat semifinalists for the Butkus Award, along with Georgia’s Jarvis Jones. Te’o, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound inside linebacker, has a team-high 69 tackles with 2 1/2 for loss, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries this season.

Finalists for the award will be announced Nov. 20, and the winner will be revealed Dec. 4.

Te’o also added a fourth independent defensive player of the year award on Sunday. The senior had 10 tackles and intercepted his fourth pass of the season in Saturday’s 17-14 win over BYU.

Irish running back Theo Riddick was named the independent offensive player of the week for his career-best 143-yard rushing performance on 15 carries against BYU.


Pacers pick up option on George

The Pacers exercised an option that will keep swingman Paul George with the team through the 2013-14 season. Last season, George averaged 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists, and he’s expected to play an even bigger role this season. Indiana also released center Luke Nevill and guards Sundiata Gaines and Blake Ahearn, trimming the team’s roster to 15 as they head into the final two preseason games. The Pacers open their season Oct. 31 at Toronto and will play their home opener Nov. 3 against Sacramento.

Ex-Mad Ant Russell cut by Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived guard Walker Russell, reducing their training camp roster to 18. Russell, who played 28 games with Detroit last season, was the first player to be cut by Oklahoma City during training camp. He appeared in one exhibition game, scoring five points with one assist in 6 minutes. Russell started last season in Fort Wayne before being called up by the Pistons. …

The Lakers waived forward Chris Douglas-Roberts and center Greg Somogyi.


Doctors call for sports safety rules

The nation’s leading group of pediatricians says cheerleading should be considered a sport to make it safer. In a new policy, the American Academy of Pediatrics says cheerleading has become a lot more physical and athletic, and it should get the same kind of safety oversight that sports get. That would include on-site athletic trainers, limits on practice time and better-qualified coaches.


Buckeyes QB sore but will practice

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer says star quarterback Braxton Miller has a sore neck yet is expected to return to practice today. Miller lay motionless for several minutes after being thrown to the turf by Purdue defensive back Josh Johnson late in the third quarter of the ninth-ranked Buckeyes’ dramatic 29-22 overtime win on Saturday. He was carted to the locker room and then taken to the hospital where he was treated and released.

Football roundup

Suspended defensive tackle Stacy McGee, who was suspended for the first six games, has been reinstated and should play for No. 8 Oklahoma on Saturday night … Florida State running back Chris Thompson is out for the rest of the season after injuring his left knee in the Seminoles’ win against Miami on Saturday. …

Maryland quarterback Perry Hills has a torn ACL in his left knee and is done for the season. … Missouri quarterback James Franklin (knee) will likely miss his second consecutive game when the Tigers play Kentucky on Saturday.

Texas coach unsure about TV network

Texas coach Mack Brown once welcomed the Longhorn Network. Now he sounds like he’d rather do without it. Brown complained about his weekly time commitment to produce three shows, the network’s access to practice and the tips opposing coaches may get from watching it. Brown says he “didn’t ask for” the network, the school’s 20-year collaboration with ESPN that pays Texas $300 million. Brown says he wants to sit down with network and school officials to address his concerns.

Tubby Smith’s son on unpaid leave

Minnesota assistant basketball coach Saul Smith, the son of head coach Tubby Smith, was placed on indefinite unpaid leave by the university after his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.


Federer wins match at Swiss Indoors

Top-seeded Roger Federer eased to victory in the first round of his hometown Swiss Indoors event, beating Germany’s Benjamin Becker 7-5, 6-3 in Basel, Switzerland.