Thursday, June 5, 2003

Sports Digest

Panthers WR Dyson likely out for season

Enquirer news services

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Wide receiver Kevin Dyson tore his left Achilles' tendon in practice Wednesday and could be out for the season, throwing a severed crimp in the Carolina Panthers' attempt to upgrade their offense.

The 6-foot-1, 208-pound Dyson was part of an offseason overhaul of a Panthers offense that finished next-to-last in the league in total yards and third from last in points scored.

Wide receivers Ricky Proehl and Dyson, running back Stephen Davis, quarterback Jake Delhomme and offensive lineman Doug Brzezinski all were signed to help the team improve on its 7-9 record last season.

Dyson will be placed on the physically unable to perform list in the next couple of days.

BEARS: All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher has agreed to a nine-year deal that will keep him with Chicago through the 2011 season.

"This is the culmination of a lot of years of hard work," said Urlacher, the 2001 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. "I'm going to be a Bear for the rest of my career, and that's exciting for me."

Urlacher, the ninth overall pick in the 2000 draft, has 527 career tackles. He has led the Bears in stops in each of his first three seasons, averaging 175 a season.

BILLS: Former Oakland Raiders receiver James Jett signed with Buffalo. Jett was released by the Raiders in February after his playing time diminished over the past two seasons playing behind Jerry Rice, Tim Brown and Jerry Porter. Jett had no receptions in one appearance last season.

BROWNS: Jamel White signed a four-year contract, ending speculation he would be traded or released after having his best season in 2002.

The deal includes a $1.3 million signing bonus.

BUCCANEERS: Running back Terry Kirby signed a one-year contract. The 11-year veteran spent the last three seasons with the Oakland Raiders, mostly as the team's kick returner. He missed all but six games last season with a broken leg.

PACKERS: Eric Crouch thinks he's a contender for one of Green Bay's three quarterback spots.

Yet the 2001 Heisman Trophy winner from Nebraska is willing to play a different position in his pursuit of a job, so he tried his hand at kickoff returns this week.

"It's crazy," Crouch conceded after taking a handful of kicks following a minicamp practice. "A lot of quarterbacks aren't really willing to do that."

REDSKINS: Bruce Smith was acquitted of drunken driving Wednesday when a Virginia judge ruled that the evidence was not enough to support a conviction.

The Washington defensive lineman was charged with driving drunk April 27 after a police officer stopped him for speeding.


NKU: The Norse men's basketball team will open its 2003-04 season in the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic Nov. 7-9 at Lake Buena Vista, Fla. NKU (25-6 last season) will open the round robin against Kennesaw (Ga.) State.

NOTRE DAME: Running back Julius Jones will re-enroll and plans to play for the Irish this fall after missing last season, his father said Wednesday.

A university official said Jones needed to pass his summer-school classes to be eligible to play.

Jones' father said, however, that a letter his son received last week said he will be eligible to play. Jones was academically ineligible last season.


BOWE ACQUITTED: Former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe was cleared of assault charges Wednesday after Bowe's wife and three other witnesses failed to appear in Maryland court.

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Sports Digest