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Martin Signs Jet Offer Sheet

March 21, 1998|From Staff and Wire Reports

Curtis Martin of the New England Patriots, one of only seven players in NFL history to begin a career with three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, signed an offer sheet with the New York Jets on Friday.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but ESPN reported that Martin had an option of $4 million for one year or $36 million for six years. The Patriots have a week to match the offer.

Martin, a restricted free agent, was taken in the third round of the 1995 draft by then Patriot coach Bill Parcells, who now coaches the Jets.

"I want nothing less than the best for the New York Jets organization," Parcells said. "This was an opportunity that we felt was difficult to pass up."

Martin sat out three games because of injuries last season, but still gained 1,160 yards in 274 carries and scored four touchdowns. He also caught 41 passes for 296 yards.

Tennis

Boris Becker withdrew from the Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Fla., an hour before his first-round match against Jonathan Stark. Becker, who withdrew from 10 tournaments last year, blamed flu this time.

On the court, U.S. Open champion Patrick Rafter was upset by Vince Spadea, 6-3, 7-5; sixth-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia overcame four match points in the second set and outlasted Slava Dosedel of the Czech Republic, 6-7 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), and Paul Haarhuis of the Netherlands upset No. 12 Felix Mantilla of Spain, 6-7 (7-3), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

In women's play, top-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland needed only 47 minutes to beat Chanda Rubin, 6-1, 6-0; Serena Williams upset 10th-seeded Irina Spirlea of Romania, 7-6 (7-4), 6-0; Venus Williams beat Tatiana Panova, 6-3, 6-3., and sixth-seeded Amanda Coetzer of South Africa defeated Alexia Dechaume-Balleret of France, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.

Winter Sports

Olympic silver medalist Chris Witty won a 1,000-meter World Cup speedskating race at West Allis, Wis., on a day in which the winners of all four races set track records. Witty, of West Allis, who is the world-record holder at 1 minute 15.43 seconds, was timed in 1:17.41, breaking the record of 1:18.74 she set in January.

Canadians Catriona Le May Doan and Sylvian Bouchard won the 500-meter races. In the men's 1,000, Adne Sondral of Norway skated 1:11.74, bettering the record of 1:12.76 set by Japan's Manubo Horii last year.

Ed Podivinsky of Canada, who finished fifth in the Olympic downhill at Nagano, beat Daron Rahlves of Truckee, Calif., in a NorAm downhill at Jackson Hole, Wyo. . . . Hometown favorite Todd Lodwick, who won his third World Cup Nordic combined event a week ago, captured his third U.S. title at Steamboat Springs, Colo. . . . Elvis Stojko of Canada will not defend his title at the world figure skating championships in Minneapolis next month because of a groin injury suffered at the Winter Olympics.

Miscellany

Dominican Republic officials could not verify a broadcast report that four Cuban baseball players and a coach who fled their country in a rickety boat were alive or that they had made it to the neighboring country.

Mark Martin knocked teammate Jeff Burton off the pole in the opening round of qualifying for the NASCAR Winston Cup TranSouth Financial 400 at Darlington, N.C., Raceway. Burton had a lap of 168.284 mph, but Martin beat him with a speed of 168.665.

Dariusz Michalczewski of Germany successfully defended his World Boxing Organization light-heavyweight title for the 13th time by knocking out Andrea Magi of Italy in the fourth round at Frankfurt, Germany.

Defending champion Iowa and top-ranked Oklahoma State suffered costly upsets, but each still advanced three individuals into the finals and the teams stood 1-2 in the NCAA wrestling championships at Cleveland.

Stanford swimmers broke records in the 100-yard backstroke, 200 medley relay and 100 butterfly to keep their team in the lead at the Division I women's swimming and diving championships at Minneapolis.

Second-seeded Brown beat Northeastern, 3-2, and top-seeded New Hampshire defeated Minnesota, 4-1, setting up the first NCAA women's hockey final today at Boston.

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