Red Wings’ Howard says he’s close to extension

DETROIT — Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard told reporters Thursday that he’s close to a six-year contract extension to stay in Detroit.

Howard, who starred at the University of Maine from 2002-2005, said there are some minor details to work out, but he hopes to sign by the weekend. TSN reported that the deal is worth $31.8 million.

“I wanted to be here,” Howard said. “I get along great with everyone here. I believe in this organization. I just want to be here and get the job done.”

An all-star last season, Howard has won at least 35 games in three straight seasons. He is 16-12-4 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .917 save percentage this season.

“Obviously he’s always worked hard and the organization has confidence in him,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told reporters. “It’s important for us. We need good goaltending. We need him each and every night and he’s been excellent for us.”

Devils’ Volchenkov suspended four games

New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov has been suspended for four games without pay for elbowing Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand in Wednesday’s game.

The incident occurred at 15:11 of the second period, and Volchenkov was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

As per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Volchenkov will forfeit $91,891.88.

Video dispels Sherman claim he was misquoted

Richard Sherman totally agrees with the NFL’s statement in response to Sherman’s quote on Adderall use as “ill-informed and inaccurate.”

Sherman, appearing on NFL Network’s “NFL AM” on Thursday, denied telling the Vancouver Sun that “half the league” takes the drug designed to improve focus in patients suffering from attention deficit disorder.

“First off, I didn’t say that,” Sherman said. “It’s just another case of these writers trying to gain a little notoriety in an interview. What I said was there’s a bunch of guys on prescription for Adderall. I’ve never seen people get prescribed a performance-enhancing drug, you know what I mean?….They go so crazy when guys test positive for it, but a bunch of guys have prescriptions for it, so it’s kind of misleading.”

The Sun responded later Thursday by posting a video of the interview, which shows Sherman was quoted accurately.

Sherman was suspended for four games by the NFL last season for allegedly taking Adderall, but won his appeal due to a mishandled sample.

Mariners acquire Harang

Righthanded pitcher Aaron Harang was dealt for the second time in a week, going from the Colorado Rockies to the Seattle Mariners.

The Rockies received minor-league reliever Steven Hensley, while the Mariners also designated reliever Kameron Loe for assignment to make room for Harang.

Harang, 35, was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers along with more than $4 million for Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez on Saturday. Harang went 10-10 for the Dodgers in 2012, but an abundance of starting pitchers in spring training made Harang expendable.

Thursday’s deal to Seattle was pending approval of the commissioner’s office because it also includes cash.

The Mariners would likely insert Harang into the rotation as their fourth or fifth starter.

Iowa State investigation finds ‘major infractions’

An Iowa State University-led investigation discovered three years’ worth of impermissible phone calls and text messages that constitute major violations, according to the Ames Tribune.

The school submitted their findings in a disposition to the NCAA, and the newspaper obtained a copy through the Iowa open records law.

The university found that six current and former members of the ISU football and men’s basketball coaching staffs could face potential NCAA penalties.

Current football assistant coaches Shane Burnham and Bill Bleil are included in the report, as well as former football assistants Bobby Elliott and Luke Wells.

On the basketball side, former men’s basketball staff members Daniyal Robinson and Keith “Lefty” Moore were included.

In total, 33 coaches in all 18 varsity sports at ISU were found “at-risk for 1,405 impermissible calls.” Also, 165 impermissible text messages were found to have been sent, with 160 attributed to Moore.

FIFA probes Suarez for allegedly punching Chile’s Jara

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Uruguay forward Luis Suarez is being investigated by FIFA for allegedly punching Chile defender Gonzalo Jara during a South American World Cup qualifier last month.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has given the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) until April 17 to present its view of the incident.

Argentine referee Nestor Pitana missed the incident in the penalty area when the two players tussled at a corner during Chile’s 2-0 victory in Santiago on March 26.

Uruguayan media reports said Suarez, who plays his club football at Liverpool, reacted after Jara grabbed his genitals.

Suarez, who has scored eight goals in the qualifiers, was booked for a separate infringement and is suspended for Uruguay’s next qualifier at Venezuela on June 11.

Hurd pleads guilty to drug charge

Former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd pleaded guilty in federal court in Dallas to possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute.

Hurd’s trial was scheduled to begin Monday, and attempts to delay the start of the trial were shot down. Prosecutors have discussed a plea bargain in the case. Hurd was informed recently that two men alleged to be in partnership in the drug distribution plan were prepared to testify against Hurd, 27.

The charges stem from a 2011 arrest in Chicago. Hurd, primarily a special teams player with the Dallas Cowboys before he signed with the Chicago Bears in 2011, attempted to purchase cocaine from an undercover officer and made a request to a separate informant for 10 kilograms of cocaine per week.

Saints sign OT Jason Smith

Former No. 2 overall draft pick Jason Smith signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints.

Smith played for the New York Jets last season after being dealt for offensive tackle Wayne Hunter.

The Saints add Smith to the mix at offensive tackle, a position in flux following Jermon Bushrod’s free agent departure. Bushrod signed a five-year, $35 million contract with the Bears on March 12.

Smith has 26 starts in 45 career games. He was drafted second overall out of Baylor in 2009.