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NFL: Chad Johnson gets probation for domestic violence

The SportsXchange

Former wide receiver Chad Johnson has put his legal troubles behind him, potentially helping in his bid to return to the NFL.

Johnson and state prosecutors worked out a plea agreement to resolve a misdemeanor domestic violence charge against Johnson. He will serve one year probation, complete batterers' intervention counseling, and pay restitution for medical costs.

He is also barred from having any contact with his estranged wife, Evelyn Lozada.

Police arrested the former player Aug. 11 after he head-butted Lozada during an argument in the driveway of their home. The Miami Dolphins released him the next day and eventually aired by HBO "Hard Knocks."

Lozada quickly filed for divorce.

Johnson would like to return to the NFL, and has recently appeared on "Hard Knocks" and "Inside The NFL," in the hope of showing how he is a changed man.

---Despite having met twice this week, the National Football League and its locked-out officials remain far apart in resolving their financial dispute, according to an ESPN.com report, citing sources.

The source told ESPN.com that "significant" and "serious" economic gaps remain. No further talks are scheduled.

The regular officials were locked out in June. The league has been using replacements, who have been harshly criticized by players, coaches and fans over what they say is poor officiating.

In response, the NFL sent a warning that it won't allow confrontational behavior toward replacements.

---Outside linebacker James Harrison, safety Troy Polamalu and running back Rashard Mendenhall have been ruled out of Sunday's game at Oakland.

Harrison has not played since undergoing knee surgery Aug. 15, while Polamalu missed last week's victory over the Jets with a calf injury. Mendenhall is continuing his recovery from January knee surgery.

All three are expected to return following the team's Week 4 bye, when the Steelers will play twice in five days.

Chris Carter will continue to replace Harrison, while Ryan Mundy will start in the secondary next to Ryan Clark.

Tight end Heath Miller (rib cage soreness) is expected to play at Oakland.

---Time Warner Cable and the NFL Network have finally agreed to terms on a carriage deal that could see the NFL Network and NFL RedZone channels available to TWC customers in time for Sunday's games, according to multiple reports.

TWC is set to carry NFL Network on its digital basic tier and the RedZone channel on its sports tier, according to the reports.

TWC and the NFL Network have been unable to reach a carriage deal for the past 10 years. When Cablevision reached an agreement last month, it left TWC as the lone remaining cable operator without a carriage deal for the NFL Network.

---New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston was limited in practice Friday, and is listed as questionable for Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Despite that, Colston is likely to play, according to a report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

In two games, the 29-year-old has caught seven passes for 120 yards, but hasn't found the end zone in a high-scoring Saints attack.

---Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon is listed as doubtful against the Cincinnati Bengals with a foot injury.

With Garcon out, the Redskins will turn to a rotation of Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Josh Morgan and Aldrick Robinson.

Garcon, 26, had a big opening week, hauling four passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, including an 88-yard strike from Robert Griffin III. He was listed as questionable for Week 2 against the St. Louis Rams, but didn't play.

---The Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders announced they have avoided blackouts, and their home games on Sunday will be televised locally.

The San Diego Chargers' home game against Atlanta pitting a pair of 2-0 teams, will be blacked out in the San Diego area. More than 9,000 tickets were reportedly still available at the deadline.

The Dolphins and Raiders aren't necessarily sellouts, but they sold enough tickets to satisfy the non-black out threshold.

"We expect a very full house" Sunday, a Raiders spokesman told the Contra Costa Times.

The Dolphins announced Friday that enough tickets were sold following an extension granted by the league that Miami's game against the Jets on Sunday will be shown locally. However, the team said seats do remain available.

---Former Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James will be inducted into the teams' Ring of Honor on Sunday.

James was the second-fastest rusher in NFL history to reach 2,500 yards, but suffered a 2001 knee injury. He finished in 11th on the all-time list with 12,246 yards.

James was a first-team All-Pro in 1999, Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year and a four-time Pro Bowl selection. A star while with the Colts, James joined the Arizona Cardinals in 2006, the same year the Colts won a Super Bowl.

"It worked out just the way it was supposed to work out," James told reporters. "(The injury) gave me a great appreciation for the game. Once I got hurt, it actually took my game to another level because I understand all the phases of the game. I used to just get out there and run and play because it was so easy. It was too easy then."

---Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte has been ruled out of this Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams as he recovers from an ankle injury he sustained against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 13.

Michael Bush will start in his place.

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