Moss apologizes .. sort of
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., Sept. 26 (UPI) -- While claiming the incident that resulted in his arrest was blown out of proportion, Minnesota Vikings receiver Randy Moss apologized to his teammates, family and friends on Thursday.
Moss was charged with two misdemeanors and released from jail on Wednesday, one day after he allegedly bumped a female traffic officer with his car. But he stopped short of apologizing to the officer, Amy Zaccardi, during a rambling discourse at a news conference Thursday morning.
"I'm sorry for what I caused and what I brought to those who really care about me," said a contrite Moss.
He appeared nervous and uneasy during the news conference, often looking down and avoiding eye contact with those present. He asked the media to let the legal process run its course before judging him.
"These last couple of days have been really troublesome," Moss said. "I don't know who's with me and who's against me."
At first it was believed that Moss would face a felony count of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, but instead, he was charged with careless driving and failure to obey a traffic officer.
According to an arrest report from the Minneapolis Police Department, Moss allegedly tried to make a left turn from the wrong lane from Sixth Street onto Marquette Avenue in the city's downtown area. The 27-year-old officer stepped in front of Moss' 2002 Lexus sedan and ordered him to stop.
The arrest report said Moss continued to drive forward, pushing Zaccardi a half-block down Marquette Avenue until she was forced down. The traffic officer called for police, who came to the scene and arrested Moss and also impounded his car.
"I don't know if trouble is out to find me, but I'm not out there to find trouble," Moss claimed.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has the right to suspend and fine Moss under the league's personal conduct policy in the collective bargaining agreement.
Moss apologized to his teammates on Wednesday when he arrived at the Vikings practice facility in Eden Prairie, and expects to play Sunday night when the Vikings visit Seattle to play the Seahawks.
This is the latest incident involving Moss, who scared off college football powers Notre Dame and Florida State with his problems with the law during high school and has been fined by the NFL for squirting water on a referee in 1999 and fined by the Vikings for verbally abusing corporate sponsors on the team bus in 2001.
Last year, the Vikings gave Moss a six-year, $75 million contract extension that included an $18 million signing bonus, a record at the time. Late in the season, Moss raised questions about his commitment to football and rankled fans by saying, "I play when I want to play."
Moss has had several run-ins with teammates, most notably the now-retired Cris Carter, who once was considered his mentor.
As recently as Sunday, Moss was seen arguing on the sidelines with quarterback Daunte Culpepper during a 21-14 home-field loss to Carolina that dropped Minnesota to 0-3.
Moss, an extraordinary talent, set an NFL record with 5,396 receiving yards through his first four seasons. He is the only receiver in league history to amass 1,000 yards in each of his first four years.
Anaheim again goes after AL playoff spot
ARLINGTON, Texas, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The Anaheim Angels will try for the fifth time Thursday to secure their first postseason berth in 16 years when they face the Texas Rangers.
The Angels have wasted their last four chances to seal a playoff berth, losing the last two games of a weekend series at Seattle and the first two of a three-game set at Texas.
Rafael Palmeiro snapped a tie with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday as the Rangers continued to play the spoilers' role with a 4-3 victory.
The Seattle Mariners kept their playoff hopes alive with a come-from-behind 3-2 triumph over the Oakland Athletics. Mike Cameron's two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth erased a one-run deficit for Seattle, which trails the Angels by four games for the American League wild-card with four to play.
A win by Anaheim (96-62) or a loss by Seattle (92-66) will put the Angels in the postseason for just the third time in the 42-year history of the franchise.
The Athletics (99-59) have a three-game lead over Anaheim with four to play, but need to win just one more game to wrap up their second AL West title in three years since they own the tiebreaker advantage over the Angels because of an 11-9 edge in the season series.
The Athletics and Angels conclude their three-game set on Thursday.
Oakland, which also could capture the division with an Angels loss, secured its third straight postseason berth last Friday with a 4-2 victory over Texas.
Boston saw its postseason hopes come to an end Wednesday with a 7-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Woods to play in first Ryder Cup match
SUTTON COLDFIELD, England, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- United States Captain Curtis Strange announced Thursday he will send the world's best player out in the opening match of the Ryder Cup, which got underway under sunny skies with a moving opening ceremony that featured a tribute to the memory of those affected by last year's terrorist attacks.
The Ryder Cup was one of the first major international sporting events disrupted by the events of Sept. 11, eventually being postponed a full year.
"These matches would have taken place a year ago had it not been for those attacks on Sept. 11," The Right Rev. Antony Dittus said during the opening ceremonies. "Those events remain much in our minds a year on.
"While they led to a war on terrorism, they also must continue to lead us all to do everything we can to foster and work for peace and for reconciliation between all peoples and all nations."
A moment of silence was held in the midst of the ceremonies, followed by a lone piper playing, "Amazing Grace."
"Not a day goes by that we don't remember just why we're playing these matches in the year 2002," Strange said in his opening remarks. "Every country represented here lost citizens that day.
"Some of have said that because of that, the excitement for this event has lessened. We will show how wrong they are. I can't imagine a Ryder Cup not being a thrilling competition. I can promise you these players are eager."
Three previous Ryder Cup matches have been played at The Belfry, site of this year's event, and Strange reminded his players that he was part of two of the competitions played at this course.
"I've lost one and I've halved one," Strange said as he looked at the members of his team. "Guys, there is only one thing left to do."
Plays begins at 8 a.m. local time Friday (3 a.m. EDT) with four foursomes matches.
World No. 1 Tiger Woods will be paired with Paul Azinger in the opening match against Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn. The other three matches will send David Duval and Davis Love III against Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood; Scott Hoch and Jim Furyk against Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer; and Phil Mickelson and David Toms against Padraig Harrington and Niclas Fasth.
The biggest surprise from the American side was the absence of Mark Calcavecchia in the first round of matches. Calcavecchia had been paired with good friend Woods during some of the practice rounds. Stewart Cink, Scott Verplank and Hal Sutton were also left out on the American side for Friday morning while the Europeans on the sidelines will be Pierre Fulke, Phillip Price, Paul McGinley and Jesper Parnevik.
Sixteen team matches will be played over the first two days with 12 singles matches scheduled for Sunday. Good weather is forecast for the entire weekend.
"We will play hard, but with civility, and show why this is the world's greatest game," Strange said during the ceremony.
"This is the proudest moment of my golfing career," Strange's counterpart Sam Torrance said. "I pledge our team will maintain the traditions of the Ryder Cup and of the game which we also serve. Golf at the highest level can be a spectacle that we can all be proud to be a part."
The United States' victory three years ago at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., ended in controversy when American players spilled onto the 17th green to celebrate the 50-foot putt made by Justin Leonard that gave his team a chance to win the Cup. That celebration took place before Jose Maria Olazabal could even attempt his 20-foot putt that, had he made it, would have kept the outcome in doubt.
Because of that incident, and in the aftermath of Sept. 11, players and officials on both sides have pledged to return the competition to the friendly gathering it was intended to be by founder Samuel Ryder.
Strange emphasized that during his remarks.
"Ryder said, 'I trust the affect of this match will influence a cordial, friendly and peaceful feeling throughout the whole civilized world.'
"Fellows, let's make Samuel Ryder proud."
Bucks sign three free agents
MILWAUKEE, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The Milwaukee Bucks, one of the NBA's busiest teams this offseason, late Wednesday signed a trio of free agents, swingmen Cedric Henderson and Laron Profit, and guard Kevin Ollie, to one-year contracts.
As is the case in most signings, terms of the deals were not released.
Henderson, 6-7, 225 pounds, is a five-year NBA veteran who played in 12 games for the Golden State Warriors last season. Before that, he spent four seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Henderson has averaged 7.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per contest over 260 career games.
Profit, 6-4, 204 pounds, is a two-year NBA veteran who played for Premiata Montegranaro of the Italian League (A2) last season.
He was originally drafted by the Orlando Magic in 1999 and played two seasons (1999-2001) with the Washington Wizards, averaging 3.0 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
Ollie, a five-year NBA veteran, spent last season with the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers. He was acquired by the Pacers in a seven-player deal with Chicago on Feb. 19.
Overall, he has appeared in 81 games with the Bulls and Pacers, and achieved career-bests in nearly every statistical category, including 5.7 points, 3.6 assists and 2.3 rebounds per contest in 21.3 minutes per game.
"Kevin gives us an experienced player to back up Sam (Cassell) at the point guard position," said General Manager Ernie Grunfeld. "He is a very good defensive player with a pass-first mentality and a tremendous work ethic."
Ollie, 29, played with Bucks star Ray Allen for two seasons at the University of Connecticut (1993-95). The Bucks are his eighth NBA team.
Ollie, undrafted out of college, played parts of five seasons with the CBA's Connecticut Pride. He signed his first NBA contract with the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 7, 1998, and has since played with Orlando, Sacramento, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Chicago and Indiana.
Ollie was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers team that defeated the Bucks in the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals.
He played his high school ball at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, the same school attended by former Bucks star Marques Johnson.
The signings increase the number of players on the Bucks' roster to 23. That includes six unsigned players.
Minnesota signs free agent Kendall Gill
MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Free agent swingman Kendall Gill has joined his third team in as many years by signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Terms of his deal were not made public.
Gill spent last season with the Miami Heat, averaging 5.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per contest in 65 games. He spent 16 games on the injured list in November and December and has not played more than 76 games since the 1997-98 season, when averaged 13.4 points in 81 contests with the New Jersey Nets.
"Kendall gives us depth at a couple of positions," said Timberwolves Vice President of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale. "He is an athletic, veteran player who will help us on both ends of the court."
Gill was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the fifth pick in the 1990 draft, and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team after averaging 11.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
Gill, 34, has his best season in 1996-97, when he averaged 21.8 points and 6.1 rebounds. That season, he scored in double figures in every game, joining Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone and Chris Mullin as the only players to accomplish the feat in the '90s.
In 814 career games, Gill has averaged 14.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
The Timberwolves also has re-signed free agent forward Gary Trent.
Successful knee surgery for Pavel Bure
NEW YORK, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- New York Rangers star right wing Pavel Bure Thursday underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his twice-rebuilt right knee.
An MRI taken on Wednesday revealed that Bure had a posterior tear of the medial meniscus, but showed no damage to either the ACL or the MCL. The tear was repaired in surgery performed by
team physician Dr. Andrew Feldman. Bure's rehabilitation process is expected to last only two weeks.
"The procedure performed on Pavel (Thursday) morning went extremely well," Feldman said. "He will begin his rehabilitation process immediately and we are extremely optimistic he will return to full form."
Bure, 30, complained of stiffness in the knee during the second intermission of Tuesday's preseason game against the New Jersey Devils, but still played in the third period and assisted on a goal by Vladimir Malakhov. It is believed Bure sustained the injury when taken into the boards by Turner Stevenson and Mike Danton of the Devils in the second period.
Bure, acquired from the Florida Panthers last March, played on the top line with Eric Lindros and had 12 goals and eight assists in 20 games with the Rangers, but was unable to prevent them from missing the playoffs for a fifth straight season.
The three-time 50-goal scorer missed nearly two full seasons, the 1995-96 and 1998-99 campaigns, after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his right knee.
Known as the "Russian Rocket," Bure has 418 career goals in 663 career games. He set an NHL record by scoring 29.5 percent of his team's goals during the 2000-01 season with Florida. He is also one of just six players to score 50 goals with more than one team and was the 1991-92 Rookie of the Year with Vancouver.
Morrow re-signs with Dallas Stars
DALLAS, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The Dallas Stars Thursday agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension with left wing Brenden Morrow.
Morrow had 17 goals, 18 assists and 109 penalty minutes in 72 games last season. A solid defensive player, Morrow was eighth among NHL forwards with 214 hits.
"Brenden has shown the ability to become an excellent NHL player," said Stars General Manager Doug Armstrong. "We're excited to have him with our organization for the next three years."
Morrow, 23, was selected by the Stars in the first round of the 1997 draft. He has 51 goals, 61 assists and 318 penalty minutes in 218 career games. In 31 playoff games, he has two goals and seven assists.