Originally created 12/22/99

Overtime: Brown apologizes for pushing referee



Orlando Brown, his right eye covered with a metal patch, looked down at his handwritten apology and said he couldn't even read it.

The Cleveland Browns offensive tackle walked out of his hospital room Tuesday to speak publicly for the first time since pushing a referee to the ground after a penalty flag hit him in his eye.

Accompanied by his wife, Myra, Brown prepared to read a statement on notebook paper at a news conference at the Cleveland Clinic.

When he glanced at the lined sheet, he said softly, "I can't see. My wife will read it."

In the statement, which he and his wife wrote, Brown said he was sorry and deeply regretted pushing referee Jeff Triplette.

"I want the fans to understand that I attempted to return to the play, not to confront the official," Brown said in the statement. "I hope to regain all of my eyesight so I can continue to play for the Browns, the Cleveland fans and to continue to care for my family."

While Brown remained hospitalized, the NFL was deciding whether to punish the 6-foot-7, 350-pound offensive lineman.

While it did not announce its decision, the league did say it will review the way referees throw flags.

Rae Carruth was denied bail and settled in for what could be a long, lonely wait behind bars for his trial on charges of conspiring to kill his pregnant girlfriend. The former Panther was led into the courtroom in an orange jail jumpsuit, handcuffs and leg irons.

While he awaits trial -- and it might be more than a year before that happens -- he will be held in a 52-square-foot cell outfitted with a bed, toilet, sink, desk and stool.

BASEBALL:

Major League Baseball refused to grant Dodgers third baseman Adrian Beltre free agency, a move that will certainly lead to a grievance from the players' association.

Beltre and his agent, Scott Boras, claimed the Dodgers signed Beltre in 1994 when he was 15, a year younger than baseball's rules permit. They petitioned commissioner Bud Selig for free agency, but he refused, instead deciding to both fine the Dodgers and ordering the team to pay Beltre the difference "between the initial bonus and the amount he would have received a year later."

Free agent reliever Arthur Rhodes agreed to a $13 million, four-year contract with Seattle, giving the Mariners a much-needed lefty in their bullpen.

HIGH SCHOOLS:

Wardlaw Academy football coach Hubert Morris has been named South Carolina Independent Schools Association Class A coach of the year by the High School Sports Report.

Wardlaw won the state Class A title this season -- the school's first football championship, finishing the year with a 10-3 record in the eight-man competition. Morris has been coaching at Wardlaw for six years, the last four as head coach.

William B. "Ben" Scott, athletics director and football coach at Carrollton High for the past 13 years, died at Emory University Hospital from complications of a genetic liver disease. He was 48.

Scott suffered kidney failure after being placed on a waiting list for a liver transplant, the only permanent cure for the disease. He had been hospitalized since Nov. 30.

At Carrollton, Scott had a 143-24 record and led the Trojans to the playoffs the last 12 seasons, including the Class AA state title in 1998. The only game he missed this season was the a quarterfinal loss to Appling County on Dec. 3.

PRO BASKETBALL:

Eddie Jones of the Charlotte Hornets has a torn ligament in his left elbow and will be sidelined 3-6 weeks.

Jones was driving to the basket on a fast break during the second quarter of Monday night's game against New York when the Knicks' Kurt Thomas fouled him. The contact caused a tear in the medial collateral ligament in Jones' left elbow.

Butch Carter was rewarded for his success as head coach of the Raptors, getting a contract extension through the 2002-2003 season.

TENNIS:

Don Budge, the first player to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in one year, remains hospitalized in critical condition following a car accident.

Budge, 84, was injured when the car he was driving in the Pocono Mountains near Milford, Pa., went off the road on Dec. 14.