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Pro footballPlea offers to avoid death sentence...


Pro football

Plea offers to avoid death sentence for Carruth called off

Prosecutors withdrew plea offers that could have spared Rae Carruth and three co-defendants possible death sentences, the Charlotte Observer reported yesterday.

Any plea bargains that would have allowed the former Carolina Panthers player, Van Brett Watkins, Michael Eugene Kennedy and Stanley Drew Abraham to plead guilty to second-degree murder have been called off, said the newspaper, citing sources familiar with the case.

Carruth's attorney, David Rudolf, has said his client isn't interested in a plea agreement.

BEARS: Federal investigators are looking at possible gambling by the former public relations director of the team, including suspicions that he bet on the team's games, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The paper said investigators also were looking at possible connections between a bookie and Bryan Harlan, who left as the Bears' PR chief on Friday.

Auto racing

Andretti wins in Toronto; Hakkinen in GP hunt

Michael Andretti, six years after winning his fifth race in Toronto, used a pit stop to take the lead, then pulled away for his 40th career victory in the Toronto Molson Indy.

Combined with Roberto Moreno's 13th-place finish, one position out of the points, Andretti cut the Brazilian's Championship Auto Racing Teams lead from 22 to two points after 10 of 20 races this season.

Andretti won five of the first 10 races in Toronto, but he had not taken the checkered flag since the course at the edge of the downtown area was somewhat altered in 1996.

AUSTRIAN GP: Mika Hakkinen won for the second time this season and put himself back in the race for the Grand Prix championship in Spielberg, Austria. Michael Schumacher, who dropped out before completing a lap, has failed to finish three of the past four races. His championship lead has been reduced to six points.

Women's soccer

Milbrett's goal gives U.S. 1-0 victory over Norway

Tiffeny Milbrett scored 14 minutes into the second half, and the U.S. women's team beat Norway, 1-0, in the opening game of the DFB Jubilee Tournament in Osnabrueck, Germany.

Milbrett, who scored the winning goal against Brazil on July 3 in the championship of the first CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup, took a pass about 40 yards from the goal. After briefly letting the ball get away, she won it on a tackle, raced around a defender and scored from 12 yards out.

The United States has won two straight over Norway after losing twice to the Norwegians in February. Norway leads the U.S. women 13-12 in the series with one tie. The teams meet Sept. 14 at Melbourne, Australia, in the first round of the Olympics.

Pro basketball

Raptors' Carter to pay $13.5M in contract breach

The Toronto Raptors' Vince Carter must pay a sports apparel manufacturer more than $13.5 million in damages for breach of contract.

A Boston arbitrator's decision was announced in a statement on Westford-based Puma North America Inc.'s Web site.

Carter signed an endorsement deal with Puma in 1998 shortly after being drafted by the Raptors, but announced late last year that he had terminated the deal.


Norman takes over No. 1 with Swedish Open win

Magnus Norman is the new No. 1 in men's tennis.

He beat Swedish countryman Andreas Vinciguerra, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6), to win the Swedish Open in Bastad, Sweden, and take the top spot in the ATP champions race. Norman overtook Brazil's Gustavo Kuerten, who spent three weeks this year as No. 1.

"My goal is to finish the year as No. 1 and I think I have a pretty good chance to do it," Norman said.

SWISS OPEN: Top-seeded Alex Corretja defeated Argentina's Gaston Gaudio in his second of two matches, securing his place in the final in Gstaad, Switzerland, where he will meet eighth-seeded Mariano Puerta. Corretja, who beat No. 7 Marcelo Rios in the quarterfinal in the morning, returned in the afternoon to stop Gaudio, 7-5, 7-5. Puerta ousted defending champion Albert Costa, the fourth seed, 6-4, 6-3.

DAVIS CUP: Spearheaded by a rejuvenated Pat Rafter, defending champion Australia completed a 5-0 sweep of Brazil in a semifinal in Brisbane, Australia, to reach its second straight final. United States travels to Spain next weekend in the other semifinal.

Et cetera

Botsford 4th in 100 back at Janet Evans meet

Beth Botsford, of Timonium, a gold medalist in swimming at the 1996 Olympics, finished fourth in the 100 backstroke at the Janet Evans Invitational in Los Angeles.

In the men's competition, Lenny Krayzelburg reasserted himself two days after a shocking loss in the 200-meter backstroke to win the 100 back. Also, Jenny Thompson wrapped up a successful three-day meet by winning the 100 butterfly, her second win at the meet.

ROWING: Four-time Olympic champion Steve Redgrave received a jolt when the British coxless four finished fourth in the finals of the Rowing World Cup on the Rotsee in Lucerne, Switzerland.

BASEBALL: Members of the Bowie Baysox and Frederick Keys will participate in autograph sessions at the Babe Ruth Museum on successive Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Two Baysox players will be at the museum on July 29, and two Keys will be at the museum on Aug. 5.

The quiz

End of Bulls' run The Chicago Bulls recently cut Will Perdue, the last remaining Bull from their first three NBA titles. Name the Bulls' two remaining players from their last three championships. (Answer, 9E)

Quiz answer

Randy Brown and Dickey Simpkins.

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