Hawaii football coach June Jones, former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, was critically injured Thursday when he drove into a concrete pillar on a freeway.
The 48-year-old coach suffered a major head injury and was unconscious and unresponsive when paramedics reached the scene of the 10:30 a.m. accident, said Sgt. David Talon of the accident investigation team. Jones was alone in his car when it ran off the road near the Honolulu Airport. He was rushed to The Queen's Medical Center by ambulance.
Jones' family requested that no additional information be released.
The black 1999 Lincoln sedan ran off the roadway and crossed about 200 feet of dirt and grass before hitting the concrete pillar supporting the Kamehameha Highway overpass. There were no skid marks behind the wrecked car.
Talon reported that there was no immediate indication that speed or alcohol were involved and noted the seatbelts were unfastened when police reached the scene, although the car's airbag was deployed.
Jones, a former NFL quarterback who spent part of his playing career with the Falcons, took over the Hawaii program in 1999, setting an NCAA record for a one-year turnaround. After going 0-12 in 1998, the Warriors were 9-3 and won the Oahu Bowl in Jones' first season. Hawaii was 3-9 last year.
Jones turned down a multimillion dollar contract to continue coaching the NFL's San Diego Chargers to take the Hawaii job.
Kevin Carter, whose falloff at defensive end was a reason for the decline of the St. Louis defense last season, was designated as the Rams' franchise player, a move that left him unhappy. Aeneas Williams, Arizona's six-time Pro Bowl cornerback, also got the franchise tag.
But Darren Sharper, Green Bay's All-Pro safety, avoided getting that label by signing a $30 million, six-year deal with the Packers. The team indicated it would have made him the franchise player had he not re-signed.
Thursday was the final day teams could protect players by giving them franchise or transition tags. The franchise tag ensures a free agent will stay with a team unless a trade is worked out that usually includes two first-round draft choices; transition gives a player's old team right of first refusal and compensation.
Three other Rams defenders were released - tackles D'Marco Farr and Ray Agnew were released to provide salary cap room, and linebacker Mike Jones, who made the game-saving tackle in the 2000 Super Bowl.
Buffalo released three veterans including nose tackle Ted Washington, punter Chris Mohr and offensive lineman Joe Panos.
Miami released wide receiver Tony Martin and running back Thurman Thomas. Thomas' release was expected. He is expected to re-sign with Buffalo for one day, then retire as a member of the Bills, the team with which he spent 12 of his 13 NFL seasons.
Aiken standout quarterback Corey Ready, who helped guide the Hornets to the state championship game, will sign a football scholarship to attend Catawba College today at 10 a.m. in the front lobby.
The 5-10, 185-pound versatility on offense was a factor for the Hornets, who finished the year 13-2. The senior had 1,900 all-purpose yards as a three-year starter for Aiken while racking up 26 touchdowns.
"I am real pleased that he has the chance to go and play football," Aiken coach Carey Johnson said. "He is going to get a free education and better himself. I Think Catawba is getting a steal."
Rain ruined Thursday's doubleheader and home opener between border rivals USC Aiken and Augusta State was postponed due to rain.
The first game which was set to begin at 2:30 p.m., was moved to Monday at 4 p.m. The Lady Pacers will make its third attempt to open their 2001 home schedule today with a 5 p.m. game set against Mount Olive College.
Pete Collins, the head professional at the Augusta Country Club, and his partner, Bobby Helton of Bristol, Va., defeated Sam Corso (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Ken McAllister (Austin, Tx.) to win the 55-year-old doubles in the Professional Tennis Registry International Tennis Tournament in Hilton Head, S.C.
Collins and Helton, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, defeated the No. 3 6-0, 6-4. Collins and Helton breezed through the competition, winning four matches on the day including the championship.