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NFL notebook

Stubblefield pleads guilty

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Associated Press / January 19, 2008

Former NFL defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield pleaded guilty yesterday to lying to investigators in the BALCO steroids case, making him the first football player charged in the long-running federal investigation.

Stubblefield, a three-time Pro Bowl player who testified before the BALCO grand jury in November 2003, was charged with making false statements to federal agents about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The charges, unsealed in federal court in San Francisco, allege Stubblefield lied to an IRS agent when he said he had not used steroids linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative and denied receiving performance enhancers from BALCO founder Victor Conte.

The plea deal calls for Stubblefield, 37, to spend up to six months in prison, though US District Judge Susan Illston said she is not bound by that agreement and can sentence him to up to five years. He will be sentenced April 25.

Stubblefield played on the defensive line for the 49ers, Washington Redskins, and Oakland Raiders from 1993-2003, and was the NFL defensive player of the year in 1997 while with the 49ers. He was one of three players fined by the NFL for testing positive for the designer steroid THG, but he was not suspended because THG was not on the NFL's banned substance list at the time of the tests.

Ravens hire Harbaugh

John Harbaugh was hired as coach of the Baltimore Ravens, who hope their second choice proves to be a first-rate success. Harbaugh spent this season as Philadelphia's secondary coach after making a name for himself working with special teams. He has never been a head coach, but has coaching in his genes - his father, Jack, is former head coach at Western Kentucky and his brother, Jim, is head coach at Stanford and a former quarterback with the Ravens. The 45-year-old Harbaugh will be introduced as the third coach in Ravens history at a news conference today. His salary wasn't released, but most first-year NFL head coaches get slightly more than $2 million a season. Harbaugh replaces Brian Billick, who was fired Dec. 31 after a nine-year run. The Ravens earlier this week offered the job to Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who chose to stay in Dallas . . . The Redskins lost a contender for their coaching vacancy when Seattle Seahawks assistant Jim Mora withdrew from consideration. Mora, the former Atlanta Falcons head coach, met with Redskins owner Dan Snyder Wednesday and Thursday . . . Former Raiders head coach Bill Callahan, fired as coach at Nebraska after last season, was hired as assistant head coach/offense by the New York Jets . . . The Cowboys hired Hudson Houck as offensive line coach, returning him to the job he had on two of the Super Bowl-winning teams in the 1990s. Houck was swept out in Miami after Bill Parcells took over football operations for the Dolphins.

Frontiere dead at 80

Georgia Frontiere, the St. Louis native who became a hometown hero when she brought the NFL's Rams from Los Angeles in 1995, died yesterday. She was 80. Frontiere had been hospitalized for breast cancer for several months, the Rams said in a statement posted on their website. The onetime nightclub singer was married seven times, starting at age 15. Her sixth husband, Carroll Rosenbloom, owned the Los Angeles Rams at the time of his drowning death in 1979. St. Louis's original NFL franchise, the Cardinals, had left for Arizona in 1988. (Obituary, E11) . . . Ernie Holmes, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the "Steel Curtain" Steelers, died Thursday night after his car left a road and rolled several times near Lumberton, about 80 miles from Houston, a Texas Department of Public Safety dispatcher said. He was 59. Holmes played for the Steelers from 1972-77 before being released because of ongoing weight problems and spent part of the 1978 season with New England before retiring. He was part of a famous front four that included "Mean" Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, and Dwight White . . . Mike Carey, in his 18th year as an official, was notified this week that he will work the Super Bowl, making him the first black referee to work the game. The NFL will not officially announce the assignments until the week of the Super Bowl . . . Broncos tight end Daniel Graham won't be charged after his arrest Jan. 11 on suspicion of harassment against his former girlfriend.

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