In Sports from United Press International

Nov. 27, 2002 at 12:08 AM
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Tyson to fight Etienne in February

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Mike Tyson announced Tuesday he will fight Clifford "The Black Rhino" Etienne in a 10-round bout at The Pyramid in Memphis, Tenn., on Feb. 22.

Tyson has not fought since taking the biggest beating of his career against Lennox Lewis here on June 8. At a news conference for that fight, Tyson brawled with and bit Lewis, and the fighters had to be separated. After the scuffle, Tyson directed a profanity-laced tirade at a reporter.

However, after being bloodied and knocked out in the eighth round by Lewis, Tyson was gracious and hugged the champion after thanking him for the opportunity at the title.

Tuesday, Tyson, who is 49-4 with 43 knockouts and two no-contests, smiled and laughed as he spoke to the media.

"I'm happy to be back. You must've loved my last show," Tyson joked. "I'm just happy to be here. For health reasons, I hope it's different. This is going to be a different fight. I'm just happy to be here, I'm just glad you guys called me back."

It will be just the third fight in 28 months for Tyson, who has not held a title since being stopped in the 11th round by Evander Holyfield in November 1996.

Etienne is the heavweight champion of the virtually disregarded IBA and the No. 8 contender in the IBF. He is 24-1-1 with 17 knockouts, with his last fight a 10-round draw with aging Francois Botha in July.

Etienne said little at the news conference but did mention that he grew up a lot while serving time in prison for an armed robbery.

After Etienne mentioned jail, Tyson interupted him by saying, "I don't know about him, but I didn't do what they locked me up for."

Tyson was referring to his time served for a 1992 rape conviction. He spent 3 1/2 years in prison.

Between having his license suspended for 15 months for biting Holyfield's ear and being jailed for assaulting a pair of motorists in Maryland, Tyson stopped Botha in five rounds on Jan. 16, 1999 in Las Vegas.

Until the knockout at the hands of Lewis, Tyson had not lost in six bouts since his suspension.

In 1986, a 20-year-old Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history when he dropped Trevor Berbick in the second round. He held the title for nearly four years before being knocked out by Buster Douglas in a stunning upset in 1990.

Woods shoots 66 at PGA Grand Slam

KAUAI, Hawaii, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods moved halfway toward his fifth straight title in the exclusive $1 million PGA Grand Slam of Golf by shooting a 6-under-par 66 on Tuesday and opening a three-stroke lead over Justin Leonard.

PGA Championship winner Rich Beem and Davis Love III completed the field by managing par 72s over the 7,064-yard course at the Poipu Bay Golf Club.

The unofficial event normally features the winners of the four Grand Slam events. However, Woods claimed both The Masters and U.S. Open to earn a record sixth invitation here and has won the last four.

Woods is joined by Beem, who beat him by a stroke at the PGA Championship in August, and former major tournament champions Leonard and Love. British Open champion Ernie Els of South Africa skipped the event.

Woods was runner-up to Els in his first appearance at this tournament in 1997 but has won it every year since.

Just 26, Woods has claimed 11 major titles, tying him with Walter Hagen for third on the all-time list behind Jack Nicklaus (20) and Bobby Jones (13). In addition to his victories at Augusta National and Bethpage Black, Woods won the Bay Hill Invitational Buick Open and the American Express Championship.

Despite playing only 18 events, he again topped the PGA Tour money list with more than $6.9 million, bringing his career total past $33 million.

Reggie Miller activated

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- The Indiana Pacers, who have the best record in the NBA Eastern Conference, Tuesday night welcomed back veteran guard Reggie Miller who helped them beat Washington.

Miller was activated from the injured list prior to Indiana's game against the Wizards. The Pacers placed guard Erick Strickland on the injured list.

One of the best clutch shooters in NBA history, Miller, 37, missed the first 12 games of the season with a deep bone bruise. Indiana did well without its all-time leading scorer, going 10-2 with Ron Artest and Ron Mercer manning shooting guard.

As a member of Team USA, Miller sprained his ankle during an exhibition game leading up to the 2002 World Championships. He missed the first three games of the tournament and averaged 6.0 points per game in the remaining six as the United States finished a disappointing sixth.

The 6-7 Miller is the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers with 2,217. He averaged 16.5 points per game last season, his lowest since the 1988-89 campaign, his second in the league. In 1,173 games over 15 seasons, all with the Pacers, Miller has averaged 19.3 points per game.

Strickland was placed on the IL with right Achilles tendinitis. Signed as a free agent during the offseason, he is averaging 5.5 points and 1.7 assists in 11 games.

Detmer unable to have MRI

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Koy Detmer will not undergo an MRI Tuesday because he is unable to straighten the injured elbow on his non-throwing left arm.

X-rays did confirm that Detmer suffered a dislocated elbow in the Eagles' 38-17 victory at San Franciso Monday night. An MRI was scheduled to see if there was further damage.

Eagles Coach Andy Reid said that it might be a couple of days before Detmer can straighten his elbow.

"We don't know how long that it will take for him to extend that arm," Reid said Tuesday. "It will really be a struggle for him to have a chance to play this week."

Already without star quarterback Donovan McNabb for possibly the remainder of the season with a fractured ankle, the Eagles will be left with third-stringer A.J. Feeley to start next Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams.

Philadelphia (8-3), which reached the NFC championship game last season, has a two-game lead in the NFC East, and is in contention for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

Lewis having season-ending surgery

BALTIMORE, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- The Baltimore Ravens star middle linebacker Ray Lewis, one of the most dominating defensive players in football, decided Tuesday to undergo season-ending surgery on his left shoulder.

Lewis, who was placed on injured reserve, will undergo the operation sometime in the next two weeks to repair a partial subluxation of the shoulder. Team officials said it will take between four and six months for Lewis' shoulder to heal.

"Making the decision to have the surgery was difficult," Lewis explained. "In my mind, I've gone back and forth. I wanted to put this team on my back and get them to the playoffs, but that's not the best thing for me right now.

"This is so frustrating, and it's hard not playing, especially the home games. I kept delaying and working with`Tess' (Ravens trainer Bill Tessendorf) hoping to find a way, but it didn't respond the way I hoped it would, or the way the trainers and doctors thought it would."

A five-time Pro Bowler and the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXV, Lewis had started 63 consecutive games and was having one of his best seasons of his career before he partially dislocated his shoulder in an Oct. 6 game against Cleveland.

Lewis, 27, missed five straight games with the injury before returning on Nov. 17 against Miami. He played with a harness in that contest, registering 18 tackles but he hurt his left ankle and calf during the game after a collision with teammate Ed Hartwell.

Despite playing in only five of 11 games this season, Lewis is the team's second-leading tackler, averaging 17 stops a game. He also has collected two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

No fine for Sapp

NEW YORK, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Veteran defensive tackle Warren Sapp of Tampa Bay, who laid a vicious hit on an unsuspecting Chad Clifton of Green Bay in Sunday's 21-7 win by the Buccaneers over the Packers, will not be hit in the wallet by the NFL.

Sapp appeared to dance for joy after the hit as Clifton, who was badly hurt on the play and lay motionless on the turf. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and transported to and remains in a Tampa area hospital.

When the game ended, Sapp was confronted about the block by Green Bay Coach Mike Sherman, who voice his displeasure about the hit. He accused Sapp of using his helmet was a weapon.

In a heated exchange between the two, caught on tape, Sapp can be heard shouting several times at Sherman, "put on a uniform." Later, Sapp was defended by his coach.

"Warren Sapp is not a dirty player," said Jon Gruden. "He made an aggressive play. It was no malicious. The celebration was had nothing to do with the guy being injured."

"Warren Sapp will not be fined,'' said Michael Signora, an NFC spokesman. "It was a legal play, so there will be no disciplinary action. There will not be anything resulting from [the exchange] either.''

Sherman now appears to be apologetic about the incident.

"I don't regret being honest and truthful about how I felt,'' he said. "I regret that an issue has been made out of it. Jon Gruden won a big game (Sunday) and I hate that this has taken away from that.''

Niners release their kicker and punter

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- The San Francisco 49ers shook up their special teams Tuesday, releasing kicker Jose Cortez and punter Jason Baker.

Cortez has struggled in his second season as the club's kicker, making 18-of-24 field goals.

Two weeks ago, Cortez missed a 41-yard field goal in overtime in a 20-17 loss at San Diego. The former XFL player also missed a 27-yard field goal on the final play of regulation in a 23-20 overtime victory at Oakland.

Coach Steve Mariucci replaced Cortez as the club's kicker in Monday night's 38-17 loss to Philadelphia, giving the job to fourth-round pick Jeff Chandler.

Baker also has been struggling, as his net average of 32.0 yards was the lowest in the league. He had a punt returned 76 yards for a touchdown in Monday's game.

Mariucci also said Tuesday that running back Kevan Barlow, who suffered a sprained right knee against the Eagles, would undergo arthroscopic surgery for the injury sometime this week. He is expected to miss at least this week's game vs. Seattle.

Barlow shares time in the backfield with Garrison Hearst and is second on the team with 514 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

San Francisco, which has lost consecutive games for the first time since the 2000 season, holds a two-game lead atop the NFC West.

Patterson arrested after domestic dispute

TUALATIN, Ore., Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Tualatin (Ore.) Police responded to a call of a domestic disturbance at Patterson's home, and his wife had minor injuries that were attributed to an assault, according to the police report.

"The wife had a cut finger and some marks in other places," Sgt. Doug Nafizger, a Tualatin police spokesman, told the Portland Oregonian. "It was a minor assault."

The charge is a felony because police said the assault was witnessed by Patterson's two children.

Because of that, under state law, the incident turned it into a Class C felony, he said.

The paper reported that, if convicted, Patterson faces a minimum of one year and up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine, Nafizger said.

Patterson was booked into Washington County jail, where teammate Derek Anderson posted his $10,000 bail Monday night, authorities said.

It is not the first time Patterson has been in trouble with the law.

In January 2001 while with Seattle, Patterson was convicted of misdemeanor assault, and placed on six months probation. He also was charged with felonious assault for breaking a man's jaw outside a nightclub in Cleveland in September 2000.

Rogers confirms he is going pro

EAST LANSING, Mich., Nov. 27 (UPI) -- As reported Monday by the Detroit Free Press, wide receiver Charles Rogers, a rare bright spot in an otherwise disastrous football season at Michigan State, Monday night announced that he will skip his final college season and enter the NFL draft.

He made the announcement at the school's annual football awards ceremony.

"I woke up one morning and came to a decision," said Rogers, who has two children and has not hired an agent. "I felt like it was the best decision for me and my family at the time. It wasn't a hard decision at all. It was an easy decision. I felt like I did all I could do for the university."

The Detroit News also reported Tuesday that threat of injury also played a major role in his decision. Two of Rogers' friends have suffered career-threatening injuries -- tailback Tyrell Dortch and Wisconsin wide receiver Lee Evans.

Michigan State was considered a preseason contender for the Big Ten title, but the Spartans were just 4-8 and concluded the year with a 61-7 drubbing at Penn State on Saturday.

The season included the firing of Bobby Williams as head coach, and the revelation of a substance abuse problem suffered by starting quarterback Jeff Smoker that led to his suspension from the team.

Rogers continued to put up big numbers, breaking his own single-season school record with 668 receptions. He caught 13 touchdown passes and had 1,351 receiving yards.

Rogers also established an NCAA record for consecutive games with a touchdown catch with 13.

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