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Ex-NFL Player Montgomery Dies at 31 After ALS Diagnosis

From Staff and Wire Reports

Less than a year after it was revealed he had the same lethal neuromuscular disease that killed baseball Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig, former Houston Oiler defensive lineman Glenn Montgomery has died. He was 31.

Montgomery died early Sunday in Dallas from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a terminal degenerative illness more commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease” since the New York Yankee first baseman was stricken in the 1930s.

In 1996, the year Montgomery was traded from the Oilers to the Seattle Seahawks, he was diagnosed with the disease.

Word of Montgomery’s illness first came last July. He talked about it last October during a television interview with Oiler teammate-turned-broadcaster Sean Jones.

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“I felt like the Lord wouldn’t have put me in this position if he knew I couldn’t handle it,” Montgomery said in that interview. “I’m very happy with the way my life is going up to this point. And I believe that everything happens for a reason.”

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Francis “Franny” Murray, 82, an all-American in football and basketball at the University of Pennsylvania who played two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, died Sunday at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., of complications from a stroke four years ago. He moved to Boca Raton from Philadelphia in 1981.

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J. Bruce Llewellyn, the soda bottling magnate who hoped to become the first black owner of an NFL team, will undergo serious surgery today and won’t make a bid for the Minnesota Vikings this week.

Llewellyn first became ill on a trip to Europe earlier this month, and tests last week revealed an immediate need for surgery, said Mike Lynn, the former Viking general manager who had been the point man for Llewellyn’s proposal.

Bids for the Vikings are due Wednesday. It’s the second time the team has gone through the process this year; Tom Clancy was chosen from a group of three bidders in February, only to have his $200-million offer fall apart in May because of a lack of financing.

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NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue praised Houston’s plans for obtaining an expansion franchise and invited a businessman Bob McNair to make a formal presentation to league owners at their October meeting. Tagliabue and Carolina Panther owner Jerry Richardson met with McNair, Mayor Lee Brown and Harris County Judge Robert Eckels to see what progress the group has made in its attempts to replace the Houston Oilers, who have moved to Tennessee.

Tagliabue said the group would be allowed to make their presentation to the league, although all parties have not agreed to a financing plan to build a 69,000-seat retractable roof stadium on county land adjacent to the Astrodome.

Boxing

Senator John McCain proposed a series of reforms to clean up professional boxing by protecting athletes from unscrupulous promoters, and opening the sport’s byzantine ratings system to the public.

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State boxing officials proclaimed support for the proposed changes, while a leading New York boxing promoter scoffed at the plan for painting promoters as inherently corrupt.

Key provisions in the The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act include limiting coercive option contracts used to prevent boxers from controlling their own careers, establishing fair business practice guidelines for the organizations which rate boxers and forcing promoters and others to file financial disclosure statements.

The National Organization for Women, which protested Mike Tyson’s return to the ring after he was released from prison, wants Nevada authorities to reject his efforts to regain a boxing license.

Tyson was banned from boxing by the Nevada commission last July 9 for biting Evander Holyfield’s ears during their heavyweight title fight rematch.

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College Basketball

In an about-face, the University of Cincinnati told the NCAA that many of the improprieties uncovered in Coach Bob Huggins’ basketball program were not rules violations after all.

The university put itself on one-year probation, temporarily limiting recruiting, and told the NCAA that it has corrected the problems that culminated in a manager fired, an assistant coach put on paid leave and numerous players suspended.

The NCAA alleged a lack of institutional control over Huggins’ program in its letter of inquiry on May 5. The university responded on Monday by disputing many of the allegations, sometimes changing its position on whether actions amounted to violations.

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If the NCAA rejects the university’s latest interpretation, it could ban the team from postseason play, reduce scholarships and impose more severe recruiting restrictions.

Derrick Higgins, the leading scorer on Cal State Northridge’s basketball team in the 1996-97 season, has been granted a medical redshirt year by the NCAA, Northridge announced Monday.

Higgins, a guard, played five games last season before sustaining a stress fracture in his left foot. He had a similar injury to his right foot and missed the entire ’95-96 season.

Track

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Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan clipped took more than eight seconds off the 13-year-old world record for two miles with a time of 9 minutes, 19.56 seconds at a meet in Cork, Ireland.

O’Sullivan kicked away from the field in a final 64-second lap to shatter the previous mark of 9:28.15 held by American Lynn Jennings. American Amy Rudolph and Kathy Butler of Canada also broke the old mark with times of 9:21.35 and 9:27.18, respectively. Rudolph was challenging strongly until the final lap.

“She [Rudolph] was getting a bit close. But I think it helped a lot having her there,” O’Sullivan said.

Miscellany

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Two Cuban baseball players, one said to be the son of a legendary Cuban baseball star, have defected and asked for political asylum in Spain, a spokesman for a Miami sports agent said.

The two players left a group of about a dozen Cuban ballplayers involved in a training session in Barcelona late Sunday and were spirited to Madrid, where they contacted the Spanish government for asylum, said Rene Guim, an associate of agent Joe Cubas.

He identified the players as Felix Issasi Bustamante, 23, an outfielder, and Joel Monzon Mejia, 21, a pitcher, both from Matanzas, Cuba.

Guim said Issasi is the son of one of Cuba’s legendary baseball players, Felix Issasi Mestre, but an expert on Cuban baseball could not confirm this.

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The New York-New Jersey MetroStars acquired Major League Soccer rookie of the year Mike Duhaney from the Tampa Bay Mutiny for midfielder Paul Dougherty.

Washington and Baltimore are preparing to announce today an unprecedented joint bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, according to the Washington Post.


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