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Today in sports: The NFL gets tough on its knee injury problem, Babe Ruth's jersey sells for $4.4 million, and Phil Jackson won't be coaching the Knicks next year.

The NFL is going to make players wear thigh and knee pads this season, for safety. This Atlantic Wire bloghand once suffered a debilitating knee injury similar to the one that cut short the career of New Orleans Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie in 2008 and is fairly militant when it comes to protecting ones joints. (Much like Bill Parcells, who used to fine players for not wearing thigh pads, on the grounds the increased risk of injury was conduct detrimental to the club. [AP]

Joe Paterno's widow Sue will receive a $10.1 million payout by the end of the month, as part of the state pension he earned during his 61 years as head football coach at Penn State. The total pension—which Paterno "never accessed" during his lifetime—amounts to $13.4 million. [USA Today]

An old, sweaty Babe Ruth jersey from the 1920s has sold for $4.4 million. Summer of recovery. [The New York Times]

The Southeastern Conference is once again trying to launch a cable network of its own, so audiences around the country can enjoy Auburn volleyball. The newly-expanded league is in the process of "restructuring" the media rights deal it signed with CBS and ESPN in 2009. That deal was pretty sweet, but didn't include a conference-branded channel. [Sports Business Daily]

Former West Virginia University head football coach Bill Stewart has died of an "apparent heart attack," according to athletic department officials. He was 59. He was 39-36 in three full seasons on the job, but did lead the Mountaineers to an upset victory in the Fiesta Bowl two weeks after head coach Rich Rodriguez left in spectacularly bitter fashion to take the head coaching job at the University of Michigan. []

8 people were shot in Oklahoma City last night in the revelry following the Thunder's elimination of Lakers. One of the victims is in critical condition, the other seven have non-life threatening wounds. [CNN]

The dream of bringing Phil Jackson out of retirement looks to be over: multiple sources say the club is finalizing a multi-year contract with steady but non-thrilling interim coach Mike Woodson. [ESPN]

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