Sports briefs 2/22/05

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Basketball

* Some people collect baseball cards, some collect cars. Ruben Santamaria collects shoes. Air Jordans, to be specific.

He spends about $2,000 a month adding to a collection that already takes up three-fourths of his bedroom. There's just enough room left for the bed and path to it.

"Sometimes I go without eating or toilet paper. Even my girlfriend, she wants to kick me out of the apartment," said Santamaria, 27. "It's kind of ridiculous, I know."

This week, he drove nonstop for two days from San Antonio to Denver for a shoe contest coinciding with the NBA All-Star game. The prize for the best collection of rare, pristine Nikes -- from Air Jordans to Air Force 1s -- was a one-of-a-kind pair engraved with the winner's name.

Santamaria, of course, came out on top.

"I got a lot of respect from sneakerheads. I'm glad I made it out here," he said.

Ten competitors, chosen from dozens of applicants nationwide, displayed a total of 150 pairs of shoes. The collection was worth $70,000 to $80,000, according to Steve Mulholland, publisher and editor of Sole Collector magazine, the contest sponsor.

Colleges

* Nebraska defensive tackle Brandon Teamer has left the football program, coach Bill Callahan announced.

The 6-5, 280-pound sophomore left for personal reasons, the university's athletic department said in a written release Monday.

Teamer will remain in school and pursue his degree at Nebraska, the department said.

"We wish him the best and will continue to support him as he works toward his degree at the University of Nebraska," Callahan said.

Teamer made 30 tackles while playing in 23 games over the past two seasons. Seventeen of those tackles, including two for losses, came during the 2004 season.

Teamer is the latest in a string of Nebraska players to leave the team following the Cornhuskers' season ending loss to Colorado on Nov. 26. The Huskers ended the season with a 5-6 record, the program's first losing campaign since 1961.

Football

* Receiver Derrick Mason and cornerback Samari Rolle were among six players released Monday by the Tennessee Titans in an effort to cut up to $27 million to get under the NFL salary cap.

In addition to Mason and Rolle, the Titans released starting defensive lineman Kevin Carter and right tackle Fred Miller. They also cut fullback Robert Holcombe and kicker Joe Nedney.

Mason led all NFL receivers last season with a career-high 96 catches for 1,168 yards and seven touchdowns. The eight-year veteran was the first player in franchise history to have four consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

Rolle, considered among the league's top cover cornerbacks, was arrested last week on a domestic assault charge.

Tennis

* Andre Agassi defeated Radek Stepanek 6-4, 7-5 on Monday in his first ever appearance at the Dubai Open, earning a standing ovation from the largest crowed to see a tennis event in the United Arab Emirates.

The fourth-seeded Agassi delighted the capacity crowd in the 5,000-seat Dubai Tennis Stadium, winning the first-round match in two hours and apologizing for not playing the tournament earlier in his career.

"I have had a few great days here in Dubai," the eight-time Grand Slam winner said. "I have waited a long time to be here, and I must apologize for being so late."

In the only other match involving a seeded player on Monday, No. 5 Tommy Robredo of Spain needed a pair of tiebreaks before finally beating Olivier Rochus of Belgium, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6).

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