Originally created 01/31/98

New league gets mixed reviews



ATLANTA -- "Doomed From the Start" was how one sports talk radio show titled its discussion Friday of a proposed new pro football league.

But, even though any challenger to the NFL would face an uphill fight, not everyone was ready to dismiss the potentially powerful combination of NBC and Ted Turner.

"If anybody could do it, it's NBC and (Turner). They have deep pockets," said Steve Rosner, executive vice president of Integrated Sports International, a sports marketing company that has about 40 NFL players as clients. "Anytime Ted's involved in any kind of product, I think it's viable."

NBC and Time Warner, parent of Turner Broadcasting, confirmed there are ongoing discussions.

WOMAN SUES THOMAS:

The assistant golf professional at Rolling Hills Country Club is suing the Buffalo Bills' Thurman Thomas, accusing the running back of making a sexual comment when the woman asked for Thomas' autograph.

The lawsuit, filed Jan. 9 in Wichita's federal court, claims Thomas said he would sign a football if the woman "would perform a sex act."

Thomas' agent, Leigh Steinberg, did not return a message left Friday by The Associated Press. The Buffalo Bills referred all media questions to Steinberg.

DAVIS READY FOR FINALE:

There was the trip to Disneyland, an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the parade in Denver, a steady stream of interviews, then the long flight to Hawaii.

And for Super Bowl MVP Ter-rell Davis, there's one detail remaining -- another football game.

"I haven't had any time at all," Davis said. "It's cool because it means you've done something special. But it's very tiring."

The Denver running back is one of four Broncos on the AFC all-stars for Sunday's Pro Bowl. Tight end Shannon Sharpe, defensive end Neil Smith and center Tom Nalen are the others representing the Super Bowl champions.

Quarterback John Elway was supposed to start for the AFC, but he withdrew because he faces minor surgery on his right shoulder.

SAINTS HIRE JAMES:

Ned James, a former assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks, has been hired as a defensive assistant by the New Orleans Saints.

James replaces John Pagano, who left Jan. 19 to join the Indianapolis Colts.

James has 11 years of coaching experience, including five in professional football. He has been a Seahawks' assistant under coach Dennis Erickson for three seasons, working on offense his first two seasons.

He also coached running backs for the London Monarchs of the World League in 1991-92.

WALKER HURT:

Doak Walker, a Heisman Trophy winner and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was critically injured on Friday in a skiing accident at Steamboat Ski Resort.

Walker, 71, fell while skiing on Lower Rainbow, a groomed intermediate trail on the upper mountain. The Steamboat ski patrol responded to the accident at about 10:50 a.m. and administered CPR and other life support measures.

Walker was taken to Routt Memorial Hospital, then airlifted to Columbia Swedish Medical Center in Denver. He was in critical condition with head and possible back injuries, according to hospital spokeswoman Sara Spaulding.

Walker, a resident of Steamboat Springs, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.