A judge dismissed several counts Wednesday in the $100 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by Korey Stringer's widow against the Minnesota Vikings, but the decision did not affect the most important claims in the case.
Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson granted every motion by attorneys for the Vikings and other defendants who have argued that several counts in the complaint were not permitted under Minnesota law.
A hearing is scheduled for March 4 on a separate motion from the Vikings to dismiss the remaining three counts against the team.
Stringer, a 6-foot-4, 335-pound Pro Bowl offensive lineman, died Aug. 1, 2001, of complications from heatstroke after collapsing on the second day of training camp. His body temperature was measured at 108.8 degrees at a hospital 15 hours before his death. He was 27.
Paul DeMarco, attorney for Kelci Stringer, said Larson's ruling didn't affect the core of their case, which he expects to go to trial as scheduled June 9.
Viking attorney James O'Neal said the team was pleased that the judge ruled in its favor on every motion at issue in Wednesday's order, which dealt solely with questions of law. O'Neal said the counts he plans to challenge in March involve questions of law and facts of the case, and whether they justify going to trial.
"We believe the motions indicate the house of cards is beginning to tumble, and we look forward to being able to address the facts in detail on March 4," O'Neal said.
The Detroit Lions plan to interview former San Francisco 49er Coach Steve Mariucci by the end of the week, a source within the league said.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Lion chief executive Matt Millen made contact with Mariucci to set up a meeting after Millen fired coach Marty Mornhinweg on Monday.
Millen was not available for comment Wednesday.
Mariucci, who was born and raised in Iron Mountain, Mich., had a 60-43 record in six seasons with the 49ers, and he guided the team to the playoffs four times.
Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin agreed to interview for the San Francisco 49ers' vacant head coaching position.
Kiffin, 62, was the architect of the NFL's stingiest defense for the Super Bowl champions. He spoke by phone with San Francisco General Manager Terry Donahue and will fly to California for an interview Friday or Saturday, a team spokesman said. Kiffin couldn't be reached for comment.
Tampa Bay defensive tackle Warren Sapp dropped out of the Pro Bowl with a knee injury, three days after the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. Sapp was replaced by Carolina's Kris Jenkins, a second-year defensive tackle who will make his first Pro Bowl appearance.
St. Louis offensive tackle Orlando Pace will skip the Pro Bowl to rest from an accumulation of leg injuries and Seattle tackle Walter Jones also dropped out, following surgery on his right shoulder. Pace and Jones were replaced by Jon Runyan of the Philadelphia Eagles and Chris Samuels of the Washington Redskins.
Atlanta Falcon Coach Dan Reeves made several changes to his staff, promoting Pete Mangurian to offensive coordinator and moving Mike Johnson to quarterbacks coach. George Stewart was hired as receivers coach. .... Dwaine Board was hired as defensive line coach of the Seattle Seahawks.... Two men could be fined $2 million each on charges they had counterfeit Super Bowl tickets. Garland Ware, of Cleveland, and Jermaine McGowan, of Euclid, Ohio, had 232 counterfeit Super Bowl tickets with a face value of $400 each in their car Jan. 24.