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Sept. 21, 2012 at 5:15 PM
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Ex-Dolphin Johnson gets domestic battery plea deal

DAVIE, Fla., Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in Florida said former Miami Dolphin Chad Johnson pleaded no contest to a domestic battery charge and will serve one year of probation.

The State Attorney's Office said Friday Broward domestic violence Judge Ian Richards approved the no contest plea, which involves the defendant accepting punishment for the crime without admitting guilt, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Friday.

Johnson, 34, was arrested Aug. 11 at his home in Davie, Fla., on allegations of head-butting his wife, Evelyn Lozada, during an argument. Their divorce became official Wednesday.

Johnson, who had been competing for a roster spot as receiver for the Dolphins, was soon cut from the team and isn't on an NFL roster.

The former player was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to undergo batterers' intervention counseling and pay restitution for medical costs.

NFL 'official' helmet policy questioned

NEW YORK, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A member of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee says the league should drop Riddell Sports Inc., based in Des Plaines, Ill., as its official helmet maker.

The league allows players to wear any helmets approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, but only Riddell helmets are allowed to have their logos visible on the field.

Kevin Guskiewicz -- chairman of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina, and a member of the head, neck and spine committee -- said the policy could mislead players into thinking they don't have a choice, and could prejudice parents seeking to purchase helmets for their children, The New York Times reported Friday.

"I think we need to get away from 'the' helmet of the NFL," Guskiewicz said. "The fact that only one helmet can be advertised, the perception is there that they don't have a choice. I think we need to educate them about that choice."

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, said the league could do more to educate players about the safety of different helmet models.

"Frankly, the league has been far more aggressive about thigh and hip pads than they have about ensuring that every player has access and information regarding helmets," Smith said.

Hsieh, Robson make Guangzhou finals

GUANGZHOU, China, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Laura Robson claimed her first WTA finals spot Friday and will meet Hsieh Su-Wei in the title match of the Guangzhou International Women's Open in China.

Robson had six breaks en route to a 6-4, 6-2 decision over third-seeded Sorana Cirstea. She claimed 56 percent of the points off Cirstea's serve. Robson dropped serve late in each set but both times answered with a break to win the set.

Hsieh dominated the third set in beating No. 4-seeded Urszula Radwanska 6-1, 3-6, 6-0. She lost eight points -- three on serve -- in the final set. The three breaks in the set gave her six in the match.

Hsieh will be looking for her second WTA title. She won the WTA's stop in Malaysia in March. Robson is in her first WTA championship match.

Saturday's title match will mark the second career meeting between Hsieh and Robson. Hsieh won the first meeting in a tight two sets last year.

The Guangzhou champion will take home $37,000, with the runner-up earning $19,000. Cirstea and Radwanska each won $10,200 as semifinalists.

Maclin to miss Eagles' game Sunday

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Jeremy Maclin, the Philadelphia Eagles' leading receiver this season, will miss Sunday's game at Arizona because of a hip injury, the Eagles said Friday.

Maclin was hurt in the first game of the season but played last week until the injury was aggravated. He was taken off the field on a cart.

Maclin has seven receptions for 96 yards and one of the Eagles' two receiving touchdowns this year, as Philadelphia has started the year 2-0.

The Eagles also said left tackle King Dunlap, who left last week's game with a hamstring injury, and wide receiver Riley Cooper, who has an injured collarbone, will also be out this week.

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