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Thursday, February 10, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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P.M. BRIEFING

Patriots sign Lawyer Milloy to longterm contract

Seattle Times news services

The New England Patriots signed ex-Husky Lawyer Milloy to a longterm contract today that reportedly makes him the highest-paid safety in the NFL.

The Boston Globe reported that the seven-year deal would pay Milloy $36 million, including a signing bonus of around $10 million.

The announcement came one day after the Patriots released Ben Coates, a five-time Pro Bowl tight end, to clear of salary cap space. Coates refused to take a salary cut to stay with the Patriots.

-- Indianapolis today agreed to a five-year, $15 million contract with tight end Ken Dilger, who would have become an unrestricted free agent tomorrow, Dilger's agent told The Associated Press.

-- The New York Giants released Kent Graham, their starting quarterback for half of last season, and four other veterans.

Also let go were running back Gary Brown, linebacker Marcus Buckley, and centers Lance Scott and Brian Williams. The team re-signed safety Sam Garnes, who also was scheduled to become a restricted free agent.

-- Derrick Thomas' No. 58 jersey almost certainly will be retired by the Kansas City Chiefs. It might happen as soon as Tuesday, when Thomas' life will be celebrated at services in Kansas City, Mo.

Thomas, 33, died at a Miami hospital Tuesday from a massive blood clot in his pulmonary artery.

-- Dan Marino, 38, the leading passer in NFL history, today voided the final two years of his contract with the Miami Dolphins, paving the way for his retirement.

He also could return to the Dolphins at a lower salary or go to another team as a free agent, which is considered unlikely. The move will save the Dolphins $6 million under the salary cap.

-- Denver Bronco tackle Cyron Brown is expected to be suspended one year for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, The Denver Post reported today.

-- Steve Furness, 49, who earned four Super Bowl rings as a defensive lineman with the Pittsburgh Steelers, died from a heart attack at his suburban Pittsburgh home.

Baseball

Right-hander Mark Leiter, who missed most of last season after rotator cuff surgery, agreed to a minor-league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He pitched only 1 1/3 innings with the Mariners before surgery in May. He was 7-5 with a 3.55 earned-run average with the Phillies in 1998, then was traded for pitcher Paul Spoljaric.

Soccer

Norway beat the U.S. women's team for the second time in four days, winning 2-1 to send the Americans to consecutive home losses for the first time since 1992. Christie Welsh scored for the U.S. in the match in Boca Raton, Fla.

Swimming

American Jenny Thompson won the 50-meter freestyle (25.05 seconds) and the 100-meter butterfly (58.01) at the World Cup short-track swimming meet in Imperia, Italy.

Track and field

Donovan Bailey, Canada's 100-meter Olympic champion, was disqualified after making two of the four false starts in his heat of the 60-meter race at an IAAF indoor meet in Athens, Greece. Britain's Jason Gardener and Greece's Giorgios Theodoridis tied in 6.51 seconds.

Figure skating

Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman were the class of the 12-couple pairs field at the United States figure skating championships in Cleveland.

The 1999 national silver medalists, who ranked ninth in their first world championships together last season, were rated best of the night by all nine judges.

Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev, reigning national champions who are ranked 10th in the world, solidified their lead after round two of the ice dance.

-- In Vienna, Austria, Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze rallied to win the pairs event, reclaiming the European title they lost last year, while Russian compatriot Irina Slutskaya looked primed to recover her lost crown after taking the lead in her qualifying group.

The pair, second after the short program, delivered a strong, emotional performance to win the long program and Russia's fifth consecutive title in the event.

Boxing

Beau Jack, who twice held the world lightweight title in the 1940s, died in a Miami-area nursing home. He was 78. He retired in 1955 with a record of 83-24-5 with 40 KOs.

Auto racing

Dario Franchitti, the preseason favorite to win the CART driving championship, was injured in a crash during testing in Homestead, Fla.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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