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Cowboys Find Replacement for Sanders at Cornerback

March 03, 2000|From Staff and Wire Reports

Ryan McNeil accepted more than a contract from the Dallas Cowboys. He also agreed Thursday to the unenviable task of being the guy to replace Deion Sanders at cornerback.

"I think I have the psyche to accept that challenge and the emotion to mentally handle it," said McNeil, who led the NFL with nine interceptions in 1997, but was shut out last year.

"The position is not going to change. You're still going to have to go up there and cover receivers. As far as athleticism, I don't match up to Deion. But I think I'm pretty good."

McNeil, who made $1.8 million last season in Cleveland, was expected to sign a multiyear deal filled with incentives and voidable years.

Sanders, who is in spring training with the Cincinnati Reds, could re-sign with the Cowboys, but he has said he's ready to go elsewhere.


The NFL paid Connecticut $2.4 million to settle the state's claims over the New England Patriots' aborted move to Hartford.

Gov. John G. Rowland said the money will reimburse the state for the legal and planning costs incurred during negotiations with the football team.


The owner of Houston's NFL franchise has narrowed the list of prospective nicknames to five. Bob McNair confirmed that Texans, Apollos, Stallions, Wildcatters and Bobcats are the finalists. The final choice will be announced next month. . . . The Detroit Lions have signed free-agent quarterback Mike Tomczak to a two-year, $2.2-million contract, according to two broadcast reports. . . . Quarterback Gus Frerotte has reached a $1-million, one-year agreement with the Denver Broncos, according to reports in Denver and Detroit. . . . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, settling on a backup for quarterback Shaun King, re-signed unrestricted free agent Eric Zeier to a three-year contract. . . . Linebacker Mike Barrow, dropped nine days ago by the Carolina Panthers in a salary cap move, signed with the New York Giants. Terms were not disclosed. . . . Offensive tackle Richmond Webb agreed to remain the Miami Dolphins' franchise player, accepting the $4.124-million salary that goes with the tag.


Top-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland defeated Sandrine Testud, 6-4, 6-2, to reach the semifinals and Monica Seles beat eighth-seeded Barbara Schett, 7-6 (9), 6-1, to advance to the quarterfinals of the State Farm Women's Classic at Scottsdale, Ariz.

Stefan Koubek of Austria beat Jan-Michael Gambill, 6-1, 7-6 (7), to advance to the quarterfinals of the Citrix Tennis Championships at Delray Beach, Fla.

About 75% of the tickets for the upcoming Davis Cup quarterfinal featuring the United States against the Czech Republic have been sold, a U.S. Tennis Assn. official said.

Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras will be representing the U.S. in the singles matches at the Great Western Forum, April 7-9. Single-day tickets will go on sale Saturday and are available through Ticketmaster.


A judge in Gainesville, Fla., released indicted agent Tank Black on $1 million bond, but not before prosecutors said he was a target of an investigation into a multimillion-dollar federal drug case in Michigan.

Further spoiling the agent's victory, NBA star Vince Carter suspended his relationship with Black pending the outcome of the criminal money laundering and fraud case. Black is accused of scamming a handful of NFL players out of millions of dollars through ponzi schemes and bogus investments.

Former UCLA and Arizona Cardinal lineman Luis Sharpe pleaded guilty at Phoenix to charges he was in possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Under a plea agreement, Sharpe was sentenced to six months in jail, four years' probation, 360 hours of community service and fined $2,000. He was given credit for 59 days he has already spent in jail.

Miami Hurricane defensive lineman Jamal Green was arrested at South Miami, Fla., on a felony charge of aggravated battery in connection with a bar fight near the campus.

Boxer Vinnie Pazienza pleaded no contest to charges he tried to slug a Pawtucket officer who pulled him over for driving on the wrong side of the road at Providence, R.I.

The 37-year-old fighter will lose his license for three months and will have to pay court costs and $250 to a crime victims' fund.


Members of an IOC oversight panel wrapped up a visit to Salt Lake City confident that the 2002 Olympic Winter Games will be a success.

The Games' budget would already be balanced if organizers didn't have to raise an extra$144 million as a cushion against inflation and unexpected expenses, Swiss lawyer Marc Hodler said.

Hodler heads a 19-member oversight panel for the International Olympic Committee that spent four days poring over finances and plans for the Salt Lake Games.

Miami Hurricane linebacker Nate Webster was declared ineligible for his senior season by the NCAA. Webster decided to skip his final season and applied for the NFL draft Jan. 10. That night, Webster changed his mind, but according to NCAA rules, Webster became ineligible simply by applying to the NFL.

Europe's soccer federations are resisting a FIFA proposal to set a summer period aside for international competition. In a survey of the European body's 51 national teams, 47 opposed FIFA's idea of concentrating national team games in summer and said they wanted year-round international soccer to continue.

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