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In Sports from United Press International

By Ron Colbert (UPI)

CINCINNATI, Feb. 10 -- Reds working on Griffey comtract Veteran centerfielder Ken Griffey Jr., who wants out of Seattle, could be a member of the Cincinnati Reds at any moment.

Major League Baseball has given the Reds a 72-hour window to negotiate a long-term contract with Griffey, the superstar who is eligible for free agency after the 2000 season.

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Under baseball rules, teams must agree to a specific trade before given permission to negotiate such a deal.

ESPN is reporting that Griffey has agreed in principle to an eight-year, $114 million contract, pending approval, which is expected at some point today.

Last week, Griffey claimed he had received death threats, making it even more unlikely he would return for another season in Seattle.

Griffey was raised in Cincinnati and his father, Ken Griffey, Sr., is a coach for the Reds and has been mentioned as a managerial candidate for 2001.

The deal would put baseball's three most recognizable sluggers, Griffey, Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs and Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals -- in the same division -- the National League Central.

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Marino voids contract with Dolphins As expected, future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino voided the last two years of his contract with the Miami Dolphins Thursday. The move benefits both parties, giving him time to consider his career options while giving the team salary-cap flexibility.

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The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale reported Thursday that there is an agreement whereby Marino would void the remaining years of the deal with the understanding that he only would sign a new contract with Miami if he decides to play next season. Neither side would confirm that.

Marino helped the Dolphins clear room under the salary cap a day before the free agency period begins. He was slated to make $5.75 million in 2000 with a $1 million bonus payable on April 1.

According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Marino is expected to announce a decision on his future by March 20, when the Dolphins begin workouts under new coach Dave Wannstedt and new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

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Galloway to become a free agent Electrifying Seattle Seahawks wide receiver and kick returner Joey Galloway, who missed half of the 1999 season in a bitter holdout with the front office, Thursday became an unrestricted free agent after an arbitrator ruled that he had fulfilled his contractual obligation.

Seattle claimed Galloway did not accrue a full season, making him ineligible for free agency. However, the Players Association won its argument that Galloway should be credited with a full season because he played in a least six games.

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The Seahawks had argued that Galloway had a year remaining on his original five-year contract. They are now likely to make the star receiver their franchise player and then try to trade him.

With a franchise tag, Galloway would collect at least a one-year deal at $4.095 million per season, which is equal to the average of the 1999 salary of the five highest-paid players at his position.

After a lengthy holdout, he caught just 22 passes for 335 yards and one touchdown for the Seahawks, who ended an 11-year playoff drought but lost to the Miami Dolphins, 20-17, in an AFC wildcard contest.

A first-round pick in 1995, Galloway has 283 receptions for 4,457 yards and 37 touchdowns in his career, including 65 catches for 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He also has developed into the league's premier punt returners.

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Huge extension for Milloy New England safety Lawyer Milloy became part of one of the richest defensive backfields in the NFL history Thursday, but it came at expense of long-time Patriots tight end Ben Coates.

The 26-year-old Milloy, a five-year veteran, avoided unrestricted free agency by signing a pro-rated seven-year, $35 million contract extension that includes a $10 million signing bonus.

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A second-round pick out of the University of Washington in 1996, Milloy made the Pro Bowl after each of the last two seasons. He recorded a team-high four interceptions in 1999 and a team-best 151 tackles two seasons ago.

The move comes nearly six months after Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law signed a six-year contract extension worth $50 million, including a $14.2 million bonus, and one day after Coates, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, was cut.

Coates' release helped clear a reported $3.456 million from the salary cap, allowing the Patriots to sign Milloy a day before the free agency period begins.

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Kent Graham among Giants releases The New York Giants Thursday released five veterans, including quarterback Kent Graham and center Brian Williams, in expected cost-cutting moves.

With the free agent signing period scheduled to begin Friday, the Giants cleared salary cap space by also dropping running back Gary Brown, linebacker Marcus Buckley and center Lance Scott.

They did re-sign safety Sam Garnes, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent. Terms of his new deal were not disclosed.

Graham, an eight-year veteran, started nine games last season before being replaced by Kerry Collins. He was 5-4 in those games, completing 160-of-271 passes (59 percent) for 1,697 yards with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.

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Former Steeler Steve Furness succumbs to heart attack Steve Furness, a four-time Super Bowl-winning defensive lineman with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s, died Wednesday morning of a heart attack. He was 49.

A team spokeswomen said Furness, one of the first NFL players to admit to steriod use, passed away at St. Clair Hospital in Pittsburgh at 9:45 a.m. He won Super Bowl titles with Pittsburgh in 1975, '76, '79 and 1980, and served as an assistant coach for the Steelers in 1992 and '93.

He was drafted in the fifth round by the Steelers in 1972 and spent his entire nine-year career in Pittsburgh.

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Woods tries to make it seven in a row The irrepressible Tiger Woods continues his pursuit of history Thursday as the $3 million Buick Invitational commences at LaJolla, Calif., where he is the defending champion. First prize is $540,000.

The 24-year-old Woods, unquestionably the world's best golfer at the moment, incredibly made up seven strokes over the last eight holes on Monday to overcome PGA Tour rookie Matt Gogel and win the $4 million Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on.

It was the sixth straight win for Woods, who moved within five of the all-time record set by Byron Nelson in 1945. He is just the third player to win six straight events, tying Ben Hogan, who did it in 1948.

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As if his play weren't enough, if there is a home course advantage this week, it will belong to Woods at Torrey Pines, where he won a Junior World title when he was 15. Woods also finished in a tie for third at the Buick in 1998.

His playing partners are Fred Couples and Billy Mayfair.

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Kickoff Classic to match Trojans, Nittany Lions Two of the storied programs in college football, Penn State and Southern California, will face each other Aug. 27 in the Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium. It will be the first rematch in the 18-year history of the event.

The announcement comes after Michigan, the top choice of Kickoff Classic officials, decided against playing in the game. It was believed that Michigan did not want to play Virginia Tech, which lost in the national title game to Florida State.

Penn State will be appearing in the Kickoff Classic for the fourth time. One of those appearances resulted in a 24-7 win over the Trojans in 1996. The Nittany Lions lost to Nebraska, 44-6, in the inaugural game in 1983, and beat Georgia Tech 34-22 in 1991.

It will be the third Kickoff Classic for USC, which topped Syracuse, 34-16, in 1990.

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Penn State went 10-3 last season and finished in a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten Conference while Southern California posted a 6-6 mark and a sixth-place showing in the Pac-10 Conference.

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