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Clarett Tells NFL He Wants to Be in Draft

September 15, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Sunday at the New York Jet-Miami game at East Rutherford, N.J., that he has received a letter from the attorney representing Maurice Clarett saying the suspended Ohio State running back wants to make himself eligible for next spring's NFL draft.

The letter from attorney Alan C. Milstein, which also was sent to NFL Players Assn. Executive Director Gene Upshaw, requested a meeting with the league but did not threaten a lawsuit, Tagliabue said.

Tagliabue said league attorneys will meet with Clarett's representatives within two weeks. League rules stipulate a player must be three years removed from high school to be eligible for the draft. Clarett, a sophomore suspended for the season by Ohio State for receiving extra benefits and lying to investigators, has been out of high school less than two years. As it stands, would not be eligible for the draft until spring 2005.

"I think it would be better if he stayed in college," Tagliabue said.

Although Upshaw has not commented publicly on the situation, Tagliabue believes the league has the support of the players' union.

Asked how the league would fare if Clarett tested the eligibility rule in court -- something that has never been done -- Tagliabue said: "We have a very strong case."

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Tagliabue indicated it's presumptuous to read too much into the NFL's offer to pay for the lion's share of an environmental-impact report for a refurbished Rose Bowl.

"Nobody should be overly encouraged or discouraged by it," he said. "We want to be very balanced.

"There are a lot of options, including the three that we've talked about."

Three? Does that mean the league considers the Coliseum a viable option?

"I haven't talked to the Coliseum people, but our staff has," he said.

Tagliabue said Carson "absolutely" remains an option, meaning the Los Angeles situation is still as murky as ever.

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Team owners will convene Wednesday in Washington for a half-day meeting. They are expected to award the 2007 Super Bowl to Miami and possibly decide the fate of NFL Europe.

That night, the NFL and Major League Baseball will be honored by the National Building Museum for the "important and positive role" that new stadiums have had around the country.

-- Sam Farmer

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Buffalo's 38-17 victory over Jacksonville might have been even more convincing if not for Bill Coach Gregg Williams' decision to line up his punt team in the Emory & Henry formation in the second quarter on fourth-and-two near midfield.

With three players lined up on each side of the field, and only three linemen near the ball, running back Sammy Morris took the snap and was tackled for a one-yard loss. The Jaguars promptly moved 44 yards for their first touchdown -- a one-yard run by Mark Brunell -- to cut their deficit to 14-7.

"We didn't execute it very well," Williams said of the trick play. "We were hoping we could sneak it, and we didn't get the ball snuck."

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The Jets' Vinny Testaverde became the ninth NFL quarterback to pass for more than 40,000 career yards. Testaverde has thrown for 40,036 -- 373 in Sunday's loss to Miami. ... Green Bay's Brett Favre (3,692) moved past Fran Tarkenton (3,686) into fourth place on the career completions list. ... St. Louis' Marshall Faulk had 90 yards rushing and receiving to move past Thurman Thomas for 10th on the career list with 16,560 yards from scrimmage.

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Among the players who came out of games Sunday with injuries: Denver quarterback Jake Plummer (separated shoulder) and running back Clinton Portis (chest bruise), Cincinnati running back Corey Dillon (hyperextended knee), Arizona quarterback Jeff Blake (bruised heel), Tampa Bay wide receiver Joe Jurevicius (sprained knee), Jacksonville linebacker Keith Mitchell (neck) and wide receiver Jermaine Lewis (knee), Philadelphia defensive tackle Paul Grasmanis (torn Achilles' tendon), New Orleans' linebacker Sedrick Hodge (broken kneecap) and cornerback Dale Carter (concussion) and San Diego wide receiver Reche Caldwell (dislocated left wrist).

From Associated Press

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