Sports Briefs 1/4/13: Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell leaving for NFL

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EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell is headed to the NFL draft after a tireless junior season in which he carried the ball 382 times.

Bell said Thursday he will skip his senior year following a terrific performance as the focal point of the Spartans' offense. He ran for 1,793 yards this season and also caught 32 passes.

"This was the hardest decision of my life," Bell said. "It's difficult to leave my teammates and coaches as well as Spartan Nation, but I couldn't pass on pursuing my dream and the opportunity to change my mom's life."

Michigan State also confirmed that tight end Dion Sims will forgo his senior season to enter the draft.

• Football

Coaches announced: Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz and his assistants will direct the South squad in the Senior Bowl, and Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen and his staff will run the North team.

Schwartz coached the North to a 31-13 victory in 2010. Allen is making his first Senior Bowl appearance.

The game is Jan. 26 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

New findings: An autopsy found that Dallas Cowboys practice squad player Jerry Brown Jr. was sober when he was killed in a crash that led to an intoxication manslaughter charge against the driver, teammate Josh Brent.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office reported that Brown died of head and neck trauma when their vehicle overturned. He had a dislocated neck, a severely bruised spine and a blood alcohol content of 0.056 percent, well below the Texas limit of 0.08 percent.

Account closed: San Francisco 49ers placekicker David Akers said he received death threats on Twitter and closed the account.

Akers received the death threats late last month, but is unsure at the number of posts directed at him because he did not go further back on his account to see how many.

Back to college: Ron Turner is going back to the college sideline.

Florida International hired Turner as its football coach Thursday night, signing him to a five-year deal with a base salary of $500,000 annually.

It will be Turner's first trip back to the college game since he was fired by Illinois in 2004, three seasons after taking the Illini to what was their first Big Ten title in a decade. Illinois went to the Sugar Bowl after that 10-2 season in 2001 and Turner was Big Ten coach of the year.

Surgery needed: South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw will have surgery on his left foot Friday.

Shaw sprained his foot in a win over Tennessee on Oct. 27 and dealt with the problem in wins over Arkansas and Wofford. However, he sat out the Gamecocks 27-17 victory over Clemson on Nov. 24 because of the injury.

After more than a month of rest, Shaw returned as starter in the Outback Bowl against Michigan. Yet, the injury surfaced again on South Carolina's final drive against the Wolverines and Spurrier replaced Shaw with Thompson.

• Elsewhere

Negotiations falter: If there is going to be a hockey season, the NHL and the players' association can't afford many more days like this.

A long night of bargaining Wednesday that stretched into the early morning hours didn't end well and likely kept the sides apart for most of the day Thursday. No new full-scale negotiations took place, and outside of a few relatively brief, small sessions on specific topics, it was basically a lost day.

If the sides can't find common ground within the next week, a 48-game season -- the shortest NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league would play -- will become impossible, too.

Jackson engaged: Known for getting rings, Phil Jackson finally has given one as well.

The retired coach, who won 11 NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls, is engaged to longtime girlfriend and Lakers executive Jeanie Buss.

Buss posted a picture on her official Twitter account of her left hand with a diamond ring on her finger.

Testing ongoing: An autopsy has been conducted on the body of Scott Ashley Sterling, son of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Los Angeles County chief coronerCraig Harvey says the examination was completed Thursday but the cause of death has been deferred for toxicology testing.

The body of the 32-year-old was found late Tuesday at his home in a beachfront apartment building in Malibu.

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