Thursday, June 12, 2003

WRs Stokes, Jackson join Akili in Green Bay


Enquirer staff, wire reports

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Akili Smith had company in the audition line Wednesday.

The Green Bay Packers not only worked out the former Cincinnati quarterback, but they also brought in veteran wide receivers J.J. Stokes and Willie Jackson for the same tryout.

While the Packers view Smith as a possible backup to Brett Favre, they're not pressed to land a receiver before the team reconvenes for training camp in six weeks.

"To bring a veteran receiver in here, he would have to assume a role," coach Mike Sherman said before the tryout. "That's not the easiest thing to do sometimes - to get a veteran receiver who assumes a certain role."

LOS ANGELES: Pasadena officials are optimistic they will get an NFL team for the Rose Bowl after meeting with league officials in New York to discuss the city's proposal.

"I think there's a very high probability that it will turn out the way we want," City Manager Cynthia Kurtz said before the Pasadena group flew back to California.

The NFL previously stated its intention to return to the Los Angeles area, which has been without a team since the Raiders moved to Oakland and the Rams moved to St. Louis before the 1995 season.


WASHINGTON: A university official said Wednesday that football coach Rick Neuheisel's status hadn't changed and that an investigation, opened when NCAA officers visited campus last week, was continuing.

Neuheisel has been scrutinized since disclosing last week that he participated in gambling pools with neighbors on the NCAA basketball tournament. The NCAA bans gambling on college sports by coaches, athletic staff or athletes.

The case has dragged for a week, partly because there's a lot of money at stake for both sides.

Under terms of Neuheisel's contract, Washington could owe him as much as $3.6 million in a buyout if he is fired without cause.

The school wouldn't have to pay anything if he is fired with "just cause," and Neuheisel would be required to repay a $1.5 million loan he received as part of a contract extension last September.


BLUE JACKETS: The Columbus Blue Jackets will open their 2003-04 preseason Sept. 19 at St. Louis and will play Nashville two nights later at Nationwide Arena.

The fourth-year NHL team's eight-game exhibition schedule will conclude Oct. 4.

Games on the preseason schedule:

Friday, Sept. 19, at St. Louis, 2 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 21, Nashville, 5 p.m.; Wednesday, Sept. 24, New York Rangers, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 25, at New York Rangers, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 26, at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 28, Pittsburgh, 5 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 3, St. Louis, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 4, at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

HALL OF HAME: Goaltender Grant Fuhr became the third player from the Edmonton Oilers' dominating teams of the 1980s to make the Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

Fuhr, the first black member of the hockey hall, was joined Wednesday by forward Pat LaFontaine, Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch and junior-team coach Brian Kilrea.

OILERS: Coach Craig MacTavish signed a three-year contract extension.


RACQUETBALL: Cincinnati native Kerri Wachtel has made the U.S. National Racquetball Team and is first alternate for the Pan American Games Aug. 12-15 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

She made the national team by virtue of a third-place finish at the national championships late last month in Houston. She last made the team in 1994. Wachtel, 28, ends the 2002-03 pro tournament season ranked third in the world.

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WRs Stokes, Jackson join Akili in Green Bay
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