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Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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NFL

Notebook: Mason breaks hand while playing golf

Tennessee Titans receiver Derrick Mason has mastered the art of catching footballs.

Hitting a golf ball? That's a different story.

Mason fractured a bone in his right hand while playing in a charity golf tournament over the weekend. He said he won't be able to take part in the team's minicamp this week but expects to be healed for another minicamp at the end of June.

"It's just one of those freak things that happened," said Mason, who caught 79 passes for 1,012 yards last season.

Mason said he was using a driver off the tee when he hit behind the ball and into the ground. The hand immediately started to swell.

"I've been telling people I was rescuing my dog or something and I slipped and fell," Mason said with a smile. "I could see getting hurt in other sports, but not that one. Hey, things happen. It was just bad luck."

His teammate, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, admitted he injured his knee over the weekend when he stepped wrong getting out of his car next to a curb. Haynesworth is expected to be back on the field when the Titans practice tomorrow.

Owners eyeing L.A. market

PHILADELPHIA — After years of fits and starts and speculation, league owners passed a resolution that could put a franchise in the Los Angeles area as early as 2006.

The resolution, which passed 30-1-1 on the first day of the league's spring meetings, would have a team — either by expansion or relocation — based in either Pasadena, home of the Rose Bowl, or Carson.

This would put the league back into the second-largest television market in the nation, a situation the league has coveted since the Rams and the Raiders left Southern California before the 1995 season.

The Oakland Raiders, because owner Al Davis still contends he has rights to the Los Angeles market, voted against the resolution, and Indianapolis abstained.

"In regards to a timeline, it would be 2006 or beyond; 2007 or 2008 may be more realistic," commissioner Paul Tagliabue said.

There has been talk that the San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings or the Colts, teams that are all in stadium deadlocks of sorts in their present locations, could move to the new Southern California site.

The league will spend up to $10 million looking into the viability of a stadium in Carson.

Shots fired at Bennett's SUV

MINNEAPOLIS — The State Patrol was investigating several gunshots fired May 12 at a Hummer owned by Minnesota running back Michael Bennett.

Three shots hit the vehicle. Bennett wasn't injured, and no arrests have been made.

The shots were fired in St. Paul and Minneapolis shortly after some Vikings players had gathered at a St. Paul nightclub, apparently to celebrate quarterback Daunte Culpepper's contract extension. The players were involved in an argument with other customers later in the club's parking lot.

Bennett told the State Patrol that four men in a dark green Dodge Intrepid fired at least one shot at his Hummer in St. Paul.

More shots were fired, apparently from the Intrepid, at Bennett's vehicle while he was driving west on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis, State Patrol spokesman Kevin Smith said.

Mike Kelly, Vikings executive vice president, said the team has seen nothing to indicate Bennett was "anything other than a victim."

Bennett rushed for 1,296 yards last season.

Notes

• Miami has the 2007 Super Bowl all but locked up. Tagliabue said the South Florida area was "at the 97 percent or higher point of what has to be accomplished" for Pro Player Stadium to host the game.

• Wide receiver Chris Doering signed a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Doering, a six-year veteran, played for Washington last season.

Dorian Boose, a former Washington State player who was a second-round draft pick by the New York Jets in 1998, signed with Edmonton of the Canadian Football League.

Boose played for Washington in 2001. He was released by Houston before the start of last season.

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