Sports briefs 2/1/04

Sunday, February 1, 2004


  • The Detroit Tigers and Ivan Rodriguez moved closer to finalizing their $40 million, four-year contract, and the deal could be announced Monday afternoon. The sides were faxing language Saturday aimed at finishing off the agreement, a baseball source said. The goal was to complete the deal in time for a news conference Monday in Detroit, the source said.


  • New Jersey Nets forward Eddie Griffin plans to enter the Betty Ford Center next week for six weeks of alcohol abuse treatment, his lawyer told The New York Times. Nets spokesman Gary Sussman had no comment Saturday to The Associated Press. Griffin took a leave from the Nets on Wednesday, three weeks after signing with the team.


  • John Elway and Barry Sanders made the Pro Football Hall of Fame on their first attempt Saturday, making it look as easy as everything else they did in their spectacular careers. Elway, the winningest quarterback in NFL history, and Sanders, No. 3 in career rushing, were joined by Bob Brown and Carl Eller. Elway guided the Denver Broncos to the 1997 and '98 NFL championships, capping his illustrious career with a Super Bowl MVP trophy. Elway won 148 games and was the 1987 league MVP. Sanders retired in his prime at 31. He was 1,457 yards from the career rushing record, then held by Walter Payton. Sanders was the first player to rush for 1,000 yards in his first 10 seasons and he led the league in rushing four times. Brown, a six-time Pro Bowl tackle for the Eagles, Rams and Raiders, was one of the most fearsome blockers of his time. Eller, a mainstay of the Minnesota Vikings' Purple People Eaters defensive line, played 16 seasons and 225 games.


  • Chris DiMarco climbed into a share of the third-round lead in the FBR Open, shooting a 7-under 64 to join Jonathan Kaye at 14-under 199. Kaye carded a 66, making all five of his birdies on the back nine, and second-round leader Phil Mickelson was one shot back after a 68.

    Denmark's Thomas Bjorn shot a 2-under 70 to take a one-stroke lead over Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez after the third round of the Johnnie Walker Classic. Bjorn had just one bogey, on the 13th hole, and was at 14-under 202 with one round left. Jimenez shot a 67. Defending champion Ernie Els of South Africa missed an easy putt on the final hole and finished with a 69, leaving him four strokes back at 206.


  • Brian Gionta scored two goals, and Martin Brodeur made 30 saves in the New Jersey Devils' 4-1 victory over the Blues on Saturday night. Sergei Brylin and Patrik Elias added goals for the defending champion Devils, 6-2-1 in their last nine games. Keith Tkachuk scored for the Blues, winless in their last four games against the Devils. St. Louis is 0-5-1 in its last six games. St. Louis goalie Reinhard Divis sustained his first career loss, dropping his record to 5-1-1.

    -- From wire reports

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