N. Alabama player off team after racist tweet

FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama said a walk-on football player is off the team after sending a racist tweet about President Barack Obama.

The university said coaches made the move after Bradley Patterson described Obama with a racial slur while complaining that the president’s speech about the Connecticut school massacre pre-empted an NFL game Sunday night.

Sports publicist Jeff Hodges said the school found that there’s no question the tweet was issued by Patterson. Patterson couldn’t be reached by The Associated Press for comment Monday.

Nix, Martin will return to Notre Dame: At South Bend, Ind., Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix III and offensive tackle Zack Martin will return to school next year and skip the NFL draft.

Coach Brian Kelly started a news conference Monday by announcing two of his top players would be back. Kelly also says running back Cierre Wood will wait until he receives an evaluation of his draft stock from an NFL advisory committee before deciding if he will return for another season.

The 325-pound Nix anchored one of the top defenses in college football. The junior had 45 tackles and two sacks.

Martin is Notre Dame’s top offensive line and a three-year starter.

Old Dominion QB Heinicke wins Payton Award: At Philadelphia, Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke won the Walter Payton Award, given to the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Heinicke became the second sophomore in FCS history to win the award, after receiving 72 first-place votes and 531 points Monday.

Heinicke led the FCS with 5,076 yards passing, a 390.5-yard average, and 55 total touchdowns for the Monarchs.

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