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NFL Asks Judge for Stay on Clarett

From Staff and Wire Reports

The NFL asked a judge Tuesday to suspend her decision to allow high school players into the draft, arguing that an onslaught of teenagers would harm the league, its athletes and college football.

U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin issued her ruling Thursday in a lawsuit by Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett, a 20-year-old sophomore who played only one season in college before trying to make himself available for the draft.

The NFL asked the judge for a stay while it appeals, saying a higher court may not be able to rule before the April draft.

“Absent a stay, countless college underclassmen, as well as high school students who lack the physical and psychological maturity to succeed in professional football, will be encouraged prematurely to declare themselves eligible for the NFL draft,” the NFL said.

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At issue is a league rule that a player must be out of high school for three years before he is eligible for the draft.

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Top University of Miami recruit Willie Williams surrendered to police after more criminal charges were added to a record of 10 arrests the university didn’t know about when it signed him.

Williams, 19, was charged Monday with felony malicious damage to fire extinguishers, misdemeanor criminal mischief and misdemeanor battery at a hotel on a recruiting trip to the University of Florida over Super Bowl weekend.

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Former NBA star Jayson Williams killed a limousine driver while fooling around with a shotgun, then tried to cover up his role by putting the victim’s fingerprints on the weapon, a prosecutor said in opening statements at Williams’ manslaughter trial in Somerville, N.J.

“This defendant took the hand of a dying man and attempted to transfer the fingerprints of a dying man to the gun,” prosecutor Steven Lember said.

Williams, 35, is charged in the death of Costas “Gus” Christofi, 55, who died in 2002 at Williams’ 40-room mansion.

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Defense lawyer Billy Martin said the shooting by Williams -- whom he referred to as “a big teddy bear” -- was an accident, and suggested that the retired New Jersey Net center would testify to that.

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Milwaukee Brewer pitcher Luis Martinez surrendered to police to face accusations he shot a man in a dispute over parking spots in the Dominican Republic.

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Baseball

Right-hander Kevin Millwood agreed to an $11-million, one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, avoiding arbitration.

Millwood was 14-12 with a 4.01 earned-run average for the Phillies last year, and pitched a no-hitter against San Francisco on April 27.

Fred McGriff, nine home runs short of 500, agreed to a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In 2003, McGriff hit a career-low .249 with 13 homers in 86 games during an injury-plagued season with the Dodgers. McGriff is a Tampa, Fla., native.... The Expos won their salary arbitration case against Nick Johnson and will pay the first baseman $1.25 million this year instead of the $1.68 million he had requested.... Left-hander Terry Mulholland and outfielder Eric Owens agreed to minor league contracts with the Seattle Mariners.

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Tennis

Third-seeded Mardy Fish won for the first time this season, beating qualifier Alex Reichel, 6-1, 6-4, in the opening round of the Siebel Open at San Jose.

In a late match, second-seeded Andre Agassi beat Irakli Labadze from the Republic of Georgia, 7-6 (7), 6-4.

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Goran Ivanisevic won his first singles match in eight months, hitting 25 aces in a 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6 (3) victory over Bohdan Ulihrach at the Milan Indoors in Italy.

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Miscellany

Rob Ryan, who has coached in two of the last three Super Bowls, was hired as the Oakland Raiders’ defensive coordinator. Ryan has spent the last four seasons as linebacker coach for the New England Patriots.

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The death of a worker at Daytona International Speedway was ruled an accident, although a federal official was looking into whether labor safety standards were violated.

Roy H. Weaver III, 44, was killed instantly Sunday when a car driven by Ray Paprota crushed him while traveling 100-plus mph during a caution period. Weaver was on the track collecting debris from an accident.

A tractor-trailer slammed into a van carrying Navarro College basketball players Monday night in Paris, Texas, killing two and injuring all seven other people in the van.

Police spokesman Todd Varner identified the dead as players Pa Sarr, 21, of the African nation of Gambia, and Jason Rashard Trier, 18, of Giddings, Texas.

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Raminods Jumikis, 23, of Latvia died after collapsing during a top-division Swedish league basketball game Tuesday, the Swedish Basketball Federation said. Jumikis was pronounced dead at Karolinska hospital, the federation said.


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