Originally created 02/11/00

Warrants issued in Lewis case



ATLANTA -- Police issued arrest warrants Thursday for two acquaintances of Ray Lewis and accused the Ravens' star of lying to investigators to protect them.

Lewis, charged with murder in the stabbings of two men outside a club after a Super Bowl party, was an active participant in the fight that led to the killings, Deputy Chief C.B. Jackson said.

In their first major comments on the investigation, police said they were searching for two men, Reginald Oakley of Baltimore, 31, and Joseph L. Sweeting of Miami, 34. Both have extensive criminal records and should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.

Lewis refused to answer basic questions about the fight that led to the stabbings, Jackson said at a news conference.

Lewis' lawyers say that he was acting as a peacemaker during the Jan. 31 fight that led to the deaths of Richard Lollar, 24, and Jacinth Baker, 21, both of Decatur in suburban Atlanta.

But Jackson and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said witnesses saw Lewis fighting with one of the victims just before he was stabbed. Lewis can be charged with murder if he was involved in the fight, even if someone else stabbed the men.

SANDERS RETURNING?

Barry Sanders will decide within two weeks whether he will end his retirement and return to the NFL, CBS Sportsline reported.

Sanders is expecting a ruling within days on whether he must repay the Detroit Lions $5.5 million on a signing bonus, the sports Web site reported, citing unidentified sources.

AROUND THE NFL:

Jessie Tuggle, the league's active tackle leader, passed up a chance to become an unrestricted free agent by agreeing to a four-year deal with the Falcons. ... The Seahawks designated Joey Galloway as their franchise player after the veteran wide receiver won his free agent case against the team. Seahawks general manager-coach Mike Holmgren is expected to try to trade Galloway, who would get $4.1 million under a one-year contract if he stays in Seattle.

The Patriots signed Lawyer Milloy to a seven-year, $35 million contract that makes him the highest-paid safety in the league. ... Wide receiver Tim Brown passed up a chance at free agency and re-signed with the Raiders. ... The Broncos cleared room under the salary cap by cutting defensive ends Alfred Williams and Neil Smith, two veteran members of their two Super Bowl winners.

Tight end Ken Dilger got the long-term commitment he wanted from the Colts, signing a five-year, $15 million contract. ... Defensive end Bruce Smith and running back Thurman Thomas followed wide receiver Andre Reed into free agency, breaking the Bills' last ties to the Super Bowl teams of the 1990s. ... The Vikings parted ways with some of their most decorated veterans, including guard Randall McDaniel, who started in his record 11th consecutive Pro Bowl last weekend. The Vikings also released wide receiver Jake Reed and tight end Andrew Glover, both nine-year veterans. ... The Bengals signed offensive tackle Rod Jones to a $9 million, three-year contract, stabilizing their offensive line.