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15 Finalists Announced for Football Hall

Canton, Ohio — Single-season sacks leader Michael Strahan and two players who tried to block him are among 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Strahan, who had 22½ sacks in 2001 and 141½ for his 15-year his career with the New York Giants, is joined by offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden of the Ravens and guard-tackle Larry Allen of the Cowboys and 49ers.

The fourth first-year eligible to make the cut is defensive tackle Warren Sapp of the Buccaneers and Raiders.

Strahan, Ogden and Sapp all won Super Bowls.

The hall announced yesterday that the other finalists are running back Jerome Bettis; receivers Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed; LB-DEs Charles Haley and Kevin Greene; guard Will Shields; defensive back Aeneas Williams; coach Bill Parcells; and former owners Edward DeBartolo Jr. of the 49ers and the late Art Modell of the Browns, who moved to Baltimore in 1996 to become the Ravens.

The two senior nominees are defensive tackle Curley Culp — who played for the Chiefs, Oilers and Lions — and linebacker Dave Robinson of the Packers and Redskins.

Between four and seven new members will be selected Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl, in New Orleans.

Cowboys Hire Coordinator

Irving, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys hired former Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin as the replacement for Rob Ryan yesterday.

The hiring of Kiffin means the Cowboys will switch back to the 4-3 defense after going to the 3-4 under Bill Parcells in 2005. The most notable switch will be Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware becoming a defensive end, and Anthony Spencer could make the same move if the Cowboys re-sign him.

Kiffin hasn’t coached in the NFL since ending a 13-year run in Tampa in 2008. He spent the past few years coaching in college with his son, Lane Kiffin, at Tennessee and Southern California.

‘Hogettes’ Retiring

Washington — The Hogettes will oink no more.

The group of male fans who have cheered on the Washington Redskins for three decades while wearing dresses, floppy hats and pig snouts announced yesterday that the group is retiring.

The Hogettes said on their website that it’s a “new era.” They say they’ll still be Redskins fans and will be continue to help raise money for children’s charities — although in more “incognito” fashion.

Hogettes founder Michael Torbert told The Washington Post that 30 seasons is “enough of guys in pig snouts and dresses.”

The Hogettes began in 1983, when they started putting on dresses to entertain patients at children’s hospitals. They also became fixtures at Redskins games, getting their name from the team’s legendary “Hogs” offensive line.

Syracuse Hires Coach

Syracuse, n.y. — Scott Shafer was introduced yesterday as the new coach at Syracuse, and he emotionally vowed to continue what Doug Marrone started four years ago.

Marrone, who was named coach of the Buffalo Bills Monday, preached discipline, accountability, character, and integrity, in rejuvenating a team that went 10-37 under his predecessor, Greg Robinson, and transformed it into a two-time bowl winner.

Syracuse finished 2012 at 8-5 after beating West Virginia 38-14 in the Pinstripe Bowl and earned a share of the Big East regular-season title with a 5-2 conference mark, its best since Paul Pasqualoni’s 2001 team went 6-1.

Alabama Trio Enter Draft

Tuscaloosa, Ala. — Alabama tailback Eddie Lacy, cornerback Dee Milliner and right tackle D.J. Fluker are entering the NFL draft.

Lacy and Milliner announced their plans to skip their senior seasons Friday at a news conference. Coach Nick Saban said Fluker couldn’t be there, but made the same decision.

Milliner is considered a potentially early first-round pick. He had two interceptions and 22 pass deflections.

Lacy was MVP of the national championship game after rushing for 140 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

The 6-foot-6, 335-pound Fluker started 35 games for the Tide and was a second-team Associated Press All-American.

Golf

Rookies Rule in Hawaii

Honolulu — Two days into his PGA Tour career, Russell Henley was on his way to breaking a record.

Henley had another 7-under 63 yesterday in the Sony Open and wound up with a two-shot lead over fellow rookie Scott Langley among early starters in the second round. He was at 14-under 126, which breaks by two shots the 36-hole record at this tournament.

In the first full-field event of the season, the two rookies are leading the way.

Langley finished with three straight birdies for a 66, a solid effort after opening with a 62. Depending on afternoon play, they would play together a third straight day, this time as the final group. They first were linked as low amateurs in the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Baseball

Ex-Player Charged

Los Angeles — Former Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley has been charged with abusing his estranged wife and faces up to 13 years in jail if convicted.

Los Angeles city prosecutors charged Bradley on Thursday with 13 misdemeanor counts, including assault with a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors contend he threatened and assaulted his wife at least five times in 2011 and last year. Bradley remains free pending a scheduled Jan. 24 arraignment.

Bradley played 11 years with several teams. He’s been a free agent since the Seattle Mariners released him in 2011.