Report Says Irvin to Retire Because of Spinal Condition

From Staff and Wire Reports

Michael Irvin has been advised by doctors to stop playing football because of a spinal condition and plans to retire, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

The Dallas Cowboys’ all-time leading receiver is uncertain when he will announce his retirement, the newspaper said.

A member of the Cowboy organization, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Irvin has spinal stenosis, a congenital condition that could cause permanent paralysis, and he met with the player about it at training headquarters the past week.


“I’m not sure why they’re saying that now,” said Irvin’s agent, Steve Endicott. “They could have said that the last three months or the next two. It’s up to Michael to comment on that. Michael hasn’t done anything yet or said anything yet.”

Cowboy spokesman Brett Daniels said the team has not heard anything official from Irvin, 34, and the decision is up to him.


NFL players Keyshawn Johnson and John Lynch of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Eddie George of the Tennessee Titans are being investigated by the Screen Actors Guild for shooting commercials while the actors’ union is on strike. . . . Offensive tackle Willie Anderson has agreed to a six-year contract extension with the Cincinnati Bengals.


Fulton County (Ga.) District Attorney Paul Howard used his opening statement in the double murder trial of Baltimore Raven linebacker Ray Lewis and two others to tell jurors that blood from one of two victims was found in Lewis’ limousine and in his hotel room after a fight that led to the stabbing deaths of two men.

Lawyers for Lewis said he acted as peacemaker in the Jan. 31 fight and didn’t stab or hit anyone.

Lewis is charged with murder along with friends Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting for the deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar.

Lewis’ attorney, Ed Garland, said the prosecution does not have a single witness who saw any of the defendants holding a knife at the scene of the stabbing deaths.

A federal magistrate in Indianapolis ordered former Colt quarterback Art Schlichter held until a probable cause hearing May 31 on money-laundering charges. If convicted, Schlichter could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. . . . Antwun Echols, a leading middleweight boxer, has been charged in Davenport, Iowa, with hitting a man with a trash can at a bus terminal and robbing him of $650.


Pete Sampras lost to Tommy Haas, 7-5, 6-2, and Germany defeated the United States at the Team World Cup at Duesseldorf, Germany. Rainer Schuettler beat Vincent Spadea, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1, to secure Germany’s victory in the best-of-three series before the doubles. Alex O’Brien and Jared Palmer won doubles for the U.S. point, defeating Tommy Haas and David Prinosil, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3. . . . Jeff Tarango defeated Sergi Bruguera of Spain, 6-4, 6-1, and will face Andrew Ilie of Australia in the quarterfinals of the International Raiffeisen Grand Prix at St. Poelten, Austria.

Nathalie Dechy of France, seeded fourth, delighted the home crowd with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Meilen Tu in the first round of the $170,000 Strasbourg Open. . . . Back after a five-plus-year absence, Martina Navratilova made an impressive professional return as she and South Africa’s Mariaan de Swardt won their opening-round doubles match in the Madrid Open, beating Japan’s Rika Hiraki and Meghann Shaughnessy of the U.S., 6-3, 7-5. Navratilova plans to play doubles at the French Open and Wimbledon. . . . Andre Agassi and Martina Hingis were named the top-seeded players for the French Open, which begins Monday.


Taking its cue from the successful NBA-WNBA relationship, the Women’s United Soccer Assn., which begins play next spring in eight cities but not Los Angeles, will be operated with the help of Major League Soccer.

The groups reached agreement to cooperate on marketing, scheduling, promotion and stadium development. MLS also agreed not to submit a bid to U.S. Soccer to start a rival women’s league.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Tuesday that career scoring leader Mia Hamm would be assigned to the Washington team and World Cup hero Brandi Chastain would go to San Francisco. The newspaper also said Kristine Lilly would play for New York, Michelle Akers for Orlando-Tampa Bay, and Julie Foudy, Shannon MacMillan and Joy Fawcett for San Diego.


The North Carolina state transportation department announced it will inspect privately owned pedestrian bridges as crews began tearing down the rest of the Lowe’s Motor Speedway walkway in Concord that collapsed and injured more than 100 people Saturday. Speedway officials said they will create two new pedestrian crosswalks on U.S. 29 before Wednesday’s qualifying races begin for the Coca-Cola 600.

Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus and Preakness winner Red Bullet apparently are headed for a rubber match in the Belmont Stakes on June 10. Terry Meyocks, president and chief operating officer of the New York Racing Assn., said Joe Orseno, Red Bullet’s trainer, told him he planned to run. Red Bullet, who did not start in the Kentucky Derby, finished second to Fusaichi Pegasus in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 15.

College athletes and recruits who received impermissible expenses to attend high school or prep school will be subject to a reduced penalty if they disclose the expenses to the NCAA. A subcommittee has advised all Division I members that those who disclose payments before Aug. 1 will be kept out of 10% of their regular-season games without having to repay the expenses.

Indiana University will not investigate the most recent accusation against Bob Knight because it is no worse than claims already made against the basketball coach. . . . Missouri Kansas City has fired basketball Coach Bob Sundvold. The Kangaroos were 43-70 under Sundvold, including 16-13 last season when they finished tied for second in the Mid-Continent conference.

Auburn football Coach Tommy Tuberville dismissed defensive back Brandon Reed and defensive end Derek Magwood from the team--Reed after his second arrest and Magwood for violating unspecified team rules.