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    4. FOOTBALL CONCUSSIONS
    The deaths of NFL greats Alex Karras - who suffered from dementia - and Junior Seau - who committed suicide - were grim reminders of the angst over head injuries in the sport and their possible consequences. Thousands of retired players have sued the league, alleging the NFL failed to protect them from the dangers of concussions. Alex Smith (pictured), then the 49ers' starting quarterback, suffered a concussion against the Rams and subsequently lost his starting job. He has not played since.
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    7. REPLACEMENT OFFICIALS
    Fans and pundits predicted a blown call would decide a critical game when the NFL started the season with replacement officials. Sure enough, in Week 3, on the national stage of "Monday Night Football," a missed offensive pass interference penalty and a questionable touchdown catch handed the Seattle Seahawks a win over the Green Bay Packers. Two days later, the league resolved its labor dispute with the regular refs.
    Joshua Trujillo | seattlepi.com
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    9. SUMMITT RETIRES
    Pat Summitt (left, talking with Briana Bass), the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history, retired from the Tennessee bench in April at age 59, less than eight months after revealing she had early-onset dementia. Longtime assistant Holly Warlick took over the Lady Vols. Summitt was 1,098-208 with eight national titles in 38 seasons.
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    10. MANNING'S RESURGENCE
    Peyton Manning (center, with Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, left, and John Elway) was released from the Indianapolis Colts in March after missing last season because of neck surgery, the future uncertain for the four-time MVP. Elway and the Broncos gambled that he still had some championship play left in that right arm, and so far it's looking like a brilliant move as Denver won the AFC West.
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