Dustin Bradford/Getty Images(ENGLEWOOD, Colo.) — The Broncos are happy to have Wes Welker back on the field after the new NFL drug policy deal was announced on Wednesday.

Welker was re-instated just in time for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks after the NFL’s new policy on performance enhancing drugs was passed.

Welker was originally suspended for four games and was not eligible to return until Oct. 6.

“It feels great, it feels great,” Welker said. ” … You really realize how much you miss it.”

Welker continued, “It seemed like every other day, I was kind of going back and forth about whether I was coming back or not.”

Quarterback Peyton Manning is among the players welcoming back Welker on the field. “Good to have Wes back,” he said. “Guys were excited when he walked in the offensive meeting this morning…I know he’s been excited to get back out here.”

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Steve Dykes/Getty Images(RENTON, Wash.) — Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman still is confident in his abilities after Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen said Sherman was a “normal guy and not a shutdown corner” after their win over Seattle on Sunday.

“You know, when a guy wants his name in the paper, he’s gotta say something crazy,” Sherman said about Allen on Wednesday. “It’s humorous. I guess he wants something to tell his grandkids: ‘Remember the day I caught a couple of balls on Richard Sherman? No touchdowns, but I caught a few.'”

Sherman and the Seahawks are preparing for a Super Bowl rematch against the Broncos on Sunday.

Sherman added that he is still a shutdown cornerback although he isn’t perfect all the time. “I played pretty well,” he continued. “But it’s really funny that two little Chargers say I was exposed. One had 50 yards, and one had 60. It makes you laugh.”

Sherman was referencing Allen, who had five receptions for 55 yards, and Eddie Royal, who had seven receptions for 69 yards, respectively.

The Seahawks signed Sherman to a record four-year deal during the offseason.

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Brian Bahr/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) — Texas Longhorns quarterback David Ash has decided to end his football journey after battling concussion-related symptoms over the past year.

“We just decided, because of his health — that’s the No. 1 concern for all of us — that he’s no longer going to play football,” head coach Charlie Strong said Wednesday. “But he is going to be part of the team, because I told him I wanted him around the team and that’s what he deserves.”

“It was a very tough call for him,” Strong added. “He’s very emotional. He’s done a lot for this program, been a major part of this university.”

Ash played in two games after suffering a concussion last September against BYU.

The junior quarterback had started 22 games during his career. Ash threw for 4,728 passing yards and 36 touchdowns in three seasons.

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Brian Bahr/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) — Texas Longhorns quarterback David Ash has decided to end his football journey after battling concussion-related symptoms over the past year.

“We just decided, because of his health — that’s the No. 1 concern for all of us — that he’s no longer going to play football,” head coach Charlie Strong said Wednesday. “But he is going to be part of the team, because I told him I wanted him around the team and that’s what he deserves.”

“It was a very tough call for him,” Strong added. “He’s very emotional. He’s done a lot for this program, been a major part of this university.”

Ash played in two games after suffering a concussion last September against BYU.

The junior quarterback had started 22 games during his career. Ash threw for 4,728 passing yards and 36 touchdowns in three seasons.

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Law Enforcement Officials(NEW YORK) — Faced with widespread news reports of lost limbs and painful deaths tied to highway guardrails that have pierced vehicles, federal officials are backing a nationwide study of whether guardrails are as safe in reality as they appear to be in crash tests.

“We are supporting a national cooperative highway research program to look into the performance of guard rail terminals,” Federal Highway Administration official Nicholas Artimovich told ABC News.

The research will be done by a conglomerate of public and private highway engineers and experts, he said.

At issue, the federal official said, is whether the guardrail heads, or end terminals, can absorb the impact of a head-on crash of up to 62 miles per hour “in the real world” as they are designed to.

The federal move comes as a new study finds that a re-designed version of a widely used guardrail end terminal “placed motorists at a higher level of risk of both serious injury and fatality” than the original version.

The study, conducted by the University of Alabama Birmingham, examined serious and fatal accidents in Missouri and Ohio and was sponsored by the state of Missouri and The Safety Institute, a non-profit advocacy organization.

“This is an important first step in understanding the actual field performance of this product,” said Sean Kane, president of the board of directors of The Safety Institute, who in a different role also consults with some of the lawyers now suing the company that makes the guardrail.

“We are seeing on-road failures that shouldn’t be happening,” said Kane. “I have real concern about leaving them on the highways.”

A spokesman for the state of Missouri said it asked for the study “upon learning of concerns with the effectiveness” of the re-designed end terminal called the ET-Plus.

Missouri officials have not received the final report and the spokesperson said, “We are unable to state what our course of action, if any, will be.”

A spokesperson for Trinity Industries said the company had not seen the study and had no immediate comment.

Trinity is facing a series of lawsuits over accidents in which motorists were killed or lost legs when their vehicles crashed into guardrails.

It’s current guardrail end terminal, called the ET Plus, has passed safety crash tests and met federal standards, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

But officials say even crash-tested guardrails can be involved in fatal accidents.

“We’re interested in looking at how these devices perform in the real word after they pass crash testing,” said Artimovich.

In the lawsuits, victims allege slight modifications to the original design, including reducing one piece of metal from five inches to four inches, made them roadside hazards.

Trinity says its product meets all safety standards and it has “full confidence” in its performance. It says the slight changes had no effect on the end terminals’ performance.

The original design is credited with saving hundreds of lives since it was introduced in 1999.

Its inventor, Dean Sicking, told ABC News the changes made by Trinity in 2005 were without his knowledge.

“I was not involved in that change and never really understood why they did it,” Sicking told ABC News.

Internal company e-mails obtained by ABC News show that Trinity engineers calculated that shaving off an inch on a key piece of metal would save about $2 for each end terminal.

“That’s $50,000 a year and $250,000 a year by using the 4” channel,” the memo reads.

Trinity denies any of its changes were made to boost profits.

Tune in to ABC News 20/20 Friday for the full investigation.

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iStock/Thinkstock(POLLOCK PINES, Calif.) — The raging King Fire in Pollock Pines, California, more than doubled its coverage overnight, burning about 71,000 acres. The fire continues to burn in steep terrain in the South Fork of the American River and Silver Creek canyons.

More than 3,730 personnel are assigned to combat the northern California blaze, which is now just 5 percent contained, according to CAL Fire officials.

Some residences south of Highway 50 were under mandatory closure, but Thursday, the advisory had been changed to voluntary status. Evacuation orders are still in effect for a large part of the region, with authorities advising evacuees to take shelter at locations in the towns of Camino and Georgetown, California.

No homes have been damaged or destroyed, but more than 2,000 are threatened.

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Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) — Adrian Peterson’s family is coming out in support of the embattled NFL player.

Peterson has been charged with reckless and negligent injury after allegedly using a thin branch to strike his 4-year-old son at his Texas home last May.

Peterson’s half-brother, 20-year-old Jaylon Brown, told ABC News that Adrian “loves his kids.”

“He never harmed them intentionally,” said Brown. “He is the type of guy to teach his kids right from wrong. God knows. God has the last say at the end of the day in all of this. Only God can judge.”

Peterson’s mom, Bonita Jackson, told the Houston Chronicle that her son is a loving father who adores his kids.

“I don’t care what anybody says, most of us disciplined our kids a little more than we meant sometimes, but we were only trying to prepare them for the real world,” said Jackson.

“When you whip those you love, it’s not about abuse, it’s about love. You want to make them understand that they did wrong,” she added.

The 50-year-old Jackson said both she and Peterson’s father, Nelson Peterson, were “big disciplinarians” while raising their children. She admits she used her hand, switches and belts to spank all six of her children on occasion, but adds not to the point of injury.

Bonita Jackson told the newspaper her son is now receiving counseling to learn alternative discipline methods, such as having a child stand in the corner for five minutes.

In Minnesota on Wednesday, Vikings co-owner Zygi Wilf said the team did the right thing by putting running back Adrian Peterson on the exemption list Tuesday. Wilf and the rest of the Vikings organization believes they made a mistake reactivating Peterson earlier in the week while the legal process involving charges of child abuse against the running back proceeded.

The National Football League Players Association said Peterson cooperated during the process and will still get paid during the time he is away from the field.

Meanwhile, a Nike spokesperson said Wednesday the company was suspending its endorsement contract with Peterson.

ESPN reports Peterson jerseys are no longer available on the NFL’s official site, NFLShop.com or on Nike.com or at any Nike retail outlet.

Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement that his client “wants to continue his work in the NFL and contribute to his team and community.”

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Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) — In Minnesota on Wednesday, Vikings co-owner Zygi Wilf said the team did the right thing by putting running back Adrian Peterson on the exemption list Tuesday.

Wilf and the rest of the Vikings organization believes they made a mistake reactivating Peterson earlier in the week while the legal process involving charges of child abuse against the running back proceeded.

Peterson has been charged with reckless and negligent injury after allegedly using a thin branch to strike his 4-year-old son at his Texas home last May.

“We made a mistake and we need to get this right,” Wilf said Wednesday. “It is important to always listen to our fans, the community and our sponsors.”

The National Football League Players Association said Peterson cooperated during the process and will still get paid during the time he is away from the field.

Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement that his client “wants to continue his work in the NFL and contribute to his team and community.”

Hardin said that “in order to do so, [Peterson] is prepared to resolve this matter in the appropriate legal forum rather than the court of public opinion.”

Hardin’s statement continued, “Ultimately, it will be up to a judge and jury to decide this case, which is the way it should be. Ours is the greatest legal system in the world, and Adrian is confident that a just result will emerge once all the facts are presented.”

Peterson’s half-brother, 20-year-old Jaylon Brown, told ABC News that Adrian “loves his kids.”

“He never harmed them intentionally,” said Brown. “He is the type of guy to teach his kids right from wrong. God knows. God has the last say at the end of the day in all of this. Only God can judge.”

Peterson’s mom, Bonita Jackson, told the Houston Chronicle that her son is a loving father who adores his kids.

“I don’t care what anybody says, most of us disciplined our kids a little more than we meant sometimes, but we were only trying to prepare them for the real world,” said Jackson.

“When you whip those you love, it’s not about abuse, it’s about love. You want to make them understand that they did wrong,” she added.

The 50-year-old Jackson said both she and Peterson’s father, Nelson Peterson, were “big disciplinarians” while raising their children.

She admits she used her hand, switches and belts to spank all six of her children on occasion, but adds not to the point of injury.

Bonita Jackson told the newspaper her son is now receiving counseling to learn alternative discipline methods, such as having a child stand in the corner for five minutes.

Meanwhile, a Nike spokesperson said Wednesday the company was suspending its endorsement contract with Peterson.

“Nike in no way condones child abuse or domestic violence of any kind and has shared our concerns with the NFL,” said company spokesman KeJuan Wilkins, in a statement provided to ESPN.com. “We have suspended our contract with Adrian Peterson.”

ESPN reports Peterson jerseys are no longer available on the NFL’s official site, NFLShop.com or on Nike.com or at any Nike retail outlet.
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iStockphoto(NEW YORK) — Major League Baseball suspended umpire Joe West one game without pay for grabbing Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon’s jersey during an argument Sunday.

West and Papelbon got into the argument after West thought Papelbon made an obscene gesture toward the Philadelphia fans because they booed him.
After West made the ejection, Papelbon ran back out onto the field, bumping West, who then grabbed the pitcher’s jersey.

“Joe West handled himself appropriately in ejecting Papelbon after the player’s lewd gesture to the fans,” Major League Baseball executive vice president Joe Torre said in a statement. “I fully understand that Joe was reacting to a player who was acting aggressively, and can understand his frustration with the situation.

“However, Joe knows that an umpire cannot initiate physical contact with a player just as a player cannot initiate physical contact with an umpire. I spoke to Joe about the incident, and he admitted that there was a better way to handle the situation. I consider this matter closed.”

Papelbon has already been suspended seven games by the league after they concluded the gesture was directed at the crowd, and for bumping West.

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Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) — Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is officially out for the season.

Stanton was hit in the face in a game last Thursday by Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers. The beaning resulted in Stanton suffering facial fractures, dental damages, two black eyes and more than 20 stitches.

Stanton was examined by doctors in Miami Tuesday when it was decided the 24-year-old needed more time to recover.

“As soon as the injury happened, the most important thing was obviously his health,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “That was always at the forefront. We wanted to make sure he received the best care he possibly could get from the second he was carted off the field.”

Despite being done for the season, Stanton is still a top candidate to win the NL MVP.

For the season, he hit .288 with 37 home runs, 89 runs scored, 105 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and a .395 on-base percentage.

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