Novelist Tom Clancy took a few minutes away from his keyboard Thursday to applaud the decision of NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue that cleared the way for Clancy to become owner of the Minnesota Vikings.
Tagliabue rejected a claim by Viking President Roger Headrick that he had the right to match Clancy's offer of slightly more than $200 million.
Clancy's purchase still must be approved by 23 of the 30 NFL owners, probably during a vote in Miami in May.
"I would have preferred it went a little faster, but that's the way it goes," Clancy said from his home in Maryland.
"If I had my [new] book done, I'd be a little less subdued."
One day after Carolina lost safety Chad Cota to the New Orleans Saints through free agency, the Panthers replaced him with Brent Alexander, a free agent with the Arizona Cardinals who got a three-year deal worth about $3 million.
Brian Stablein, a free agent who had 51 receptions the last three seasons with Indianapolis, has signed with New England.
After negotiating a $3.8-million contract with the Saints, free-agent linebacker Andre Royal, who played for Carolina last season, was arrested for allegedly failing to pay his bill at a Bourbon Street strip joint.
Sophomore defensive back Clarence LeBlanc, suspended indefinitely from the Louisiana State football team, will appear in state district court to answer charges that he followed and pushed a female student.
Steffi Graf's comeback after a knee injury suffered another setback when she withdrew from the Lipton Championships because of a strained hamstring.
Graf hasn't practiced since she retired because of the injury in the third set of a semifinal match last week against Lindsay Davenport at Indian Wells. That was only Graf's second tournament in nine months.
She expects to remain sidelined for another month before returning for Germany's Fed Cup match against Spain in mid-April.
Reigning French Open Champion Iva Majoli of Croatia also withdrew because of flu from the tournament, which was delayed because of rain at Key Biscayne, Fla.
Jennifer Capriati, playing for the first time since November, lost to Poland's Magdalena Grzybowska, 6-0, 7-5; Serena Williams defeated Denisa Chladkova of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-0; and Todd Martin, who has fallen to 68th in the world, eliminated Jerome Golmard of France, 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.
Picabo Street may have to sit out all of next season to recover from injuries to both legs, and the Olympic gold medalist could retire, her agent, Brad Hunt, said.
Street, 27, broke her left leg in a crash last week during the downhill at the World Cup finals in Switzerland. Doctors later discovered she had also torn a right knee ligament.
Ricky Craven, who drives a Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, will sit out the TranSouth 400 at Darlington, S.C., Sunday and could be out for as long as three months after doctors determined he has post-concussion syndrome.
Craven is believed to have had the problem since crashing his car during practice at Texas Motor Speedway last April.
Heavy rain that flooded parts of Sebring International Raceway wiped out most of the qualifying for the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race in Florida.
Norway got goals from Marianne Pettersen and Hege Risse in the first 12 minutes in handing the U.S. women's soccer team the worst loss in its 13-year history, 4-1, in the Agarve Cup tournament at Lagos, Portugal.
With the last of the 20 money-winning finishers in, one dog death was reported in this year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Trim, a 5-year-old male from Linda Joy's team, died during the Shaktoolik-to-Koyuk run of the 1,100-mile mushing marathon.
The American Basketball League said the Atlanta Glory would relocate for the 1998-99 season after drawing 3,898 a game in its second season in the league. The team's new home will be announced within two weeks, along with the site of an expansion team.
Unbeaten Joe Williams won twice to stay on pace for his third consecutive individual title as Iowa overcame first-round problems to take the lead through two rounds of the NCAA wrestling championships at Cleveland.
The Hawkeyes lead with 34.5 points, with No. 1-ranked Oklahoma State second with 32.5.
International track and field officials plan to help fight the illegal use of human growth hormone by asking athletes at this summer's Golden League series of track meets to donate blood anonymously for use in a study.
Purdue baseball Coach Steve Green, 39, resigned, accepting blame for an "outrageously regrettable accident" in which he struck one of his pitchers, Jeremy Ballard, at a tournament in Fresno on March 10.
Searching the Florida Straits during routine patrols, the Coast Guard found no signs of four missing Cuban baseball players and a coach who left the island in a flimsy boat more than a week ago and haven't been heard from since.
UCLA's Jill Jenkins, Lindsay Etter, Beth Goodwin and Keiko Price broke a school record when they swam a 3:39:49 time in the 400-meter medley relay at the NCAA women's swimming and diving meet at Minneapolis.
Names in the News
Cliff Barker, who played in the NBA with the old Indianapolis Olympians after winning the NCAA championship as a member of Kentucky's "Fabulous Five" in 1948, has died at 77 at Satsuma, Fla.
Auburn safety Martavius Houston was dismissed from the football team for continually violating an unspecified team rule.