Originally created 05/25/04


Arena Football

Blank purchases another franchise

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank announced Monday he has reached an agreement to buy the Georgia Force Arena Football League team.

The Georgia Force is based in Gwinnett County and plays its home games in The Arena at Gwinnett Center. The Force will remain under the direction of owner and chairman Virgil R. Williams until the transaction is approved by the Arena Football Leagues board of directors.

Blank, the co-founder of Home Depot, purchased the Falcons in December 2001.

Blank's purchase of the Force is expected to be approved by the end of June and completed by the end of August.


Collins finds new home in Oakland

Kerry Collins signed with the Oakland Raiders on Monday, ending his monthlong search for a team and raising questions about the future of 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon.

Collins, a nine-year NFL veteran, was released by the Giants on April 28, four days after they acquired Eli Manning, the No. 1 pick in the draft.

The 31-year-old Collins led the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance in 2001, and that was certainly an appealing factor for the Raiders. Oakland's fall to 4-12 last season was the worst collapse by a team that played in the Super Bowl the previous season.

  • A federal appeals court formally ruled against Maurice Clarett's effort to enter the NFL draft early, saying federal labor policy permits NFL teams to act together to set rules for when players can enter the league.
  • The ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was consistent with the appeals court's refusal last month to permit the former Ohio State running back into the NFL draft.

  • Dennis Northcutt has learned to watch his words and to always read the fine print.
  • Two months after saying he would never again play for the Cleveland Browns, Northcutt returned to the team after signing a new, three-year $9 million contract.

    Northcutt's arrival ended a contentious period that began when his agent, Jerome Stanley, missed a deadline denying the wide receiver free agency.

    Track & Field

    Jones' request for sample test denied

    Sprinter Marion Jones was told Monday by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency officials they have none of her old samples to retest, her lawyer said.

    Jones met with the officials to urge them to retest the samples in an effort to prove she has not used performance-enhancing drugs.

    "This news is astounding," attorney Joseph Burton said.

    College Basketball

    Georgia State takes spot in Colonial

    Georgia State University is moving from the Atlantic Sun Conference to the Colonial Athletic Association.

    Charlie Taylor, Georgia State's assistant athletic director for communications, confirmed the move Monday.

    l Nolan Richardson testified at a trial on his discrimination lawsuit that he had no reason to believe he would be fired as basketball coach for saying Arkansas could buy out his contract for $500,000 a year.

    Richardson said before a federal judge he believed he was performing satisfactorily despite his team's losing record, and he had wide latitude to speak his mind.

    U.S. District Judge William Wilson Jr. is hearing the trial without a jury and hopes to conclude testimony by June 1.

    Horse Racing

    Smarty Jones will make practice run

    Smarty Jones will have his final tuneup before the Belmont Stakes on Friday at Philadelphia Park.

    Trainer John Servis said Monday that his Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will breeze seven-eighths of a mile with jockey Stewart Elliott aboard.

    The undefeated colt will then be shipped to New York on June 2.


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