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NFL notebook: Giants' Manning denies wrongdoing in memorabilia controversy

4/20/2017 7:45:00 PM
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning denied accusations Thursday that he knowingly provided fake game-used memorabilia to collectors.

"I've done nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide," Manning said.

The two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback turned over a potentially incriminating email earlier this month in connection with a lawsuit that claims Manning, the Giants and a team equipment manager knowingly provided memorabilia that was not worn in games.

Manning claims that the emails were "taken out of context" and that he's "more angry than anything" that his character is being called into question. The 36-year-old then said that because of pending litigation that he would not be able to answer questions or get into specific details about the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges an elaborate scheme to produce, pass off and sell memorabilia as game-used that was not.

--The death of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was officially ruled a suicide, and his brain will be donated to Boston University for study in accordance with his family's wishes.

The Worcester County District Attorney's Office in Massachusetts announced that Hernandez took his own life after conducting an investigation.

Chief medical examiner Dr. Henry N. Nields made the conclusion that "manner of death was suicide and the cause asphyxia by hanging," according to a news release.

Three handwritten notes were found in the cell but the contents weren't immediately released. There was no indication of foul play, according to authorities.

--The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will kick off the 2017 NFL season at home on Sept. 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs, ESPN reported, citing multiple sources.

The league officially will release the entire schedule at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday.

The game between the Chiefs and Patriots is the league's annual season kickoff game.

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced at the league's owners meeting last month that he plans to attend the season opener. His appearance at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., would be his first since the Deflategate situation and the league's battle to uphold a four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady.

New England is slated to play the Atlanta Falcons in a Super Bowl LI rematch this season, but the NFL is expected to hold that game for a Sunday night in October, ESPN reported.

--Cardell Hayes, who killed former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith during a traffic dispute 12 months ago, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for manslaughter.

Hayes, 29, also received a 15-year sentence for attempted manslaughter in the shooting of Racquel Smith, wife of the former defensive end.

Prosecutors argued that Hayes should serve 60 years for the two convictions, and Racquel Smith was disappointed that Criminal District Judge Camille Buras went with a combined total of 40 years.

--New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James were among seven sports figures named to Time Magazine's annual list of the world's most influential people, which was announced Thursday.

While Brady and James have ample championships on their resume, polarizing NFL free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick also appeared on the list that included pioneers, artists and leaders.

Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein, 2016 Olympic gold-medal gymnast Simone Biles, UFC light heavyweight champion Conor McGregor and Barcelona superstar forward Neymar were also included on the list.

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