Mark Tuinei, a former offensive lineman who helped the Dallas Cowboys win three Super Bowl titles and was considered the team's toughest player during his 15 seasons--the team record--was found dead in his car Thursday morning in Plano, Texas. He was 39.
A friend found Tuinei in the car at his house in the north Dallas suburb, Plano Police Chief Bruce Glasscock said. Efforts to revive Tuinei failed, and he was pronounced dead at Medical Center of Plano.
Cause of death was not immediately known. Glasscock said foul play, alcohol or drugs were not believed to be involved.
A preliminary report from medical examiners was expected, but Glasscock said it could take several days for any definitive information from an autopsy or toxicology reports.
The chief said he wasn't sure how long Tuinei had been in the car.
Although Tuinei didn't have as high a profile as teammates Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith or even fellow offensive lineman Nate Newton, he was extremely popular in the locker room and the community.
Aikman praised Tuinei, a close friend and teammate for nine years, for the influence he had on fellow players.
"When we look back at the different times that we've been with Mark over the years, I think a smile comes to all of our faces because of the type of guy he was," Aikman said. "That's how I'm going to choose to remember him, as the fun-loving guy that he was."
The team canceled a voluntary workout scheduled for Thursday. Several players and coaches who had arrived for the practice left in a solemn mood. Many said they were too shaken to talk to reporters.
Tuinei's career ended after the 1997 season because of lingering problems in both knees. The two-time Pro Bowl player was released in April 1998, with hopes that he might return in the fall, but he couldn't make it back.
The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Tuinei joined the Cowboys in 1983 as an undrafted defensive lineman after playing only seven games his senior year at Hawaii. He played his first two years of college ball at UCLA before transferring to Hawaii.
New York Giant defensive tackle Keith Hamilton pleaded guilty in Fort Lee, N.J., to driving while intoxicated. He was ordered to pay about $2,000 in fines, and his driver's license was suspended for six months.
The gusty winds that hit New Orleans earlier in the week were mild on Thursday. So was the course at the Compaq Classic, where five players shot 65, four more were at 66 and another nine shot 67.
"This golf course is all about the firmness of the greens and the wind," said Russ Cochran, whose seven-under-par 65 gave him a share of the lead with Frank Lickliter, Chris Perry, Doug Martin and Blain McCallister.
"We had a lot of wind [in practice rounds], so today it felt like nothing and the greens were pretty soft."
Steve Flesch, Carlos Franco, Omar Uresti and Craig Barlow finished one stroke off the pace.
There were 18 eagles, seven on the 15th hole, an island green that can be tricky in the wind.
Ninety-three players broke par, and 109 of the 156 golfers played even or better.
If Rachel Hetherington keeps this up, she won't be known as "the other Australian" much longer.
Fresh off two consecutive victories, Hetherington showed no sign of letting up in the LPGA Titleholders Championship with a five-under 67 that left her in a familiar spot--atop the leaderboard, tied with Patti Rizzo and Tina Barrett after the first round.
Karrie Webb, a three-time winner this year who hasn't finished worse than eighth, had a 69 and is well within range of her former teammate from their junior days in Australia.
A victory this week would make Hetherington the first woman to win three consecutive tournaments since JoAnne Carner in 1982. The record is five, by Nancy Lopez in 1978.
The Williams sisters moved into the quarterfinals of the Italian Open at Rome with impressive victories.
Third-seeded Venus Williams needed only 57 minutes to defeat Anna Kournikova of Russia, 6-2, 6-2, and sixth-seeded Serena Williams defeated No. 13 Irina Spirlea of Romania, 6-2, 6-3.
Serena's victory set up a meeting with No. 1 Martina Hingis of Switzerland. The defending champion advanced by beating unseeded Corina Morariu, 6-1, 6-4.
Second-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain was eliminated by Sylvia Plischke of Austria, 6-4, 6-1. Sanchez Vicario said she was hampered by a wrist injury nagging her since November.
Carlos Moya of Spain, seeking to regain the world's No. 1 ranking, advanced to the quarterfinals of the German Open at Hamburg by beating Adrian Voinea of Romania, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).
With top-seeded Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands eliminated in the second round, Moya, seeded second, remains the only contender with a chance to dislodge Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov from the No. 1 spot.
Michigan State point guard Mateen Cleaves will stay in school next season and not make himself available for the NBA draft. The 6-foot-2 All-American made his announcement Thursday in East Lansing, Mich.