Sports briefs 1/24/04

Saturday, January 24, 2004


  • The sale of the New Jersey Nets to a Brooklyn developer was approved Friday by the team's current owners, the first step in returning major professional sports to the borough for the first time since 1957. The YankeeNets board approved the purchase agreement with Brooklyn Basketball LLC, a group headed by Bruce Ratner. A raft of government approvals were still necessary before the glass-walled Frank Gehry arena proposed by Ratner rises above a railyard minutes from downtown Brooklyn. City and state agencies must approve infrastructure changes, tax breaks and condemnations of neighboring homes that could end up costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Vin Baker was suspended indefinitely by the Boston Celtics for failing to comply with his aftercare program. The suspension took effect immediately, and Baker missed the Celtics' game against the Washington Wizards. It's the second time this season that Baker, who struggled with alcoholism last spring, has been suspended by the team for failing to comply with his recovery program. On Jan. 7, he was suspended for three games.


  • Shannon Currier, football coach at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn., had been selected as the Bulldogs' new head coach, Truman State officials announced. Currier, who replaces John Ware, has been head coach and offensive coordinator at NCAA Div. II Concordia since December 2000.

    Illinois quarterback Jon Beutjer has been granted a sixth year of football eligibility by the NCAA. Beutjer, who started seven games last season before being sidelined by a back injury, had asked for the extension before last season started because of circumstances surrounding his transfer from Iowa in 2001.


  • The Cleveland Browns gave coach Butch Davis a two-year extension despite a season in which the team lost 11 games. Davis is signed with the Browns for four more seasons, through 2007.

    Tennessee Titans tight end Frank Wycheck retired after 11 NFL seasons, ending a career in which he became the fourth tight end in league history with at least 500 receptions. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Wycheck had a contract through 2006. But two concussions caused Wycheck to miss six games this season.


  • Jaromir Jagr was traded to the New York Rangers, capping more than six months of off-and-on negotiations that brought to an end a disappointing 2 1/2-year stay with the Washington Capitals. Jagr was traded for forward Anson Carter, but most of the negotiations centered on how much of Jagr's $11 million-per-year contract the Capitals would continue to pay as the cost-conscious NHL heads toward a possible lockout next season. Capitals owner Ted Leonsis told WTEM radio that the Capitals would not have to pay any more of Jagr's salary this season and would pay between $4 million and $4.5 million for each of the remaining four guaranteed years of the contract.


  • Top-ranked Andy Roddick and defending champion Andre Agassi were nearly flawless, advancing to the fourth round of the Australian Open with dominating performances. Agassi beat Thomas Enqvist 6-0, 6-3, 6-3, stretching his winning streak to 24 consecutive matches at Melbourne Park -- spanning championships in 2000, '01 and '03. Roddick was even more clinical in routing fellow American Taylor Dent 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 in just 1 hour, 11 minutes. In women's play, Venus Williams was upset 6-4, 7-6 (5) by 25th-seeded Lisa Raymond in the third round. The third-seeded Williams was sidelined with an abdominal injury for six months and was returning to tournament play for the first time since Wimbledon.

    -- From wire reports

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