After 21 seasons in the NFL, CFL and USFL, Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie,43. The 1984 Heisman Trophy winner had mixed success in the NFL, where coacheswere turned off by his lack of size (he's generously listed at 5'10"). ButFlutie's mobility made him a superstar in the more wide-open Canadian game. Hewas the CFL's Most Outstanding Player six times and won three championships. Asa New England backup last year he produced one of the season's most memorablemoments: He executed the NFL's first successful drop kick in 55 years. SaidFlutie (above), who will work as a college football analyst for ABC and ESPN,"If that ends up being my last play, it wouldn't be bad."
After 14 seasons, Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith, 37. A five-time Pro Bowler,Smith ranks seventh all time with 862 receptions. When he came to the NFL,Smith didn't look likely to have a long career. He missed most of his rookieseason (1992) with a broken leg and nearly died the next year after anappendectomy. He was also suspended in 2003 for drug use and admitted to acocaine addiction. He said his retirement was "hard because I know I canstill go out there and [play]. I just figure it's not in my heart to[continue]."
For 50 games by the International League, Devil Rays prospect Delmon Young. Ina Triple A game against the Pawtucket Red Sox on April 26, Young, 20, who playsfor the Durham Bulls, threw his bat at umpire Richard Cacciatore after beingejected. He was banned indefinitely the next day, and last week IL presidentRandy Mobley handed down what's believed to be the stiffest punishment in theleague's 123-year history. Said Young, Baseball America's 2005 minor leagueplayer of the year, "Fifty is a fair amount."
At age 50, South African soccer star Patrick (Ace) Ntsoelengoe, who left hishomeland during apartheid to play in North America in the 1970s. Frustrated bya FIFA ban of his country from international events, Ntsoelengoe joined theNorth American Soccer League's Miami Toros in 1973; in 11 years with four teamshe scored 87 goals. When he died Ntsoelengoe was working as a coach for theKaizer Chiefs, a Johannesburg club team. His body was found in his car outsidea hotel near Johannesburg; the cause of death was undetermined as ofMonday.
Of cancer at age 80, former outfielder Jim Delsing. He played for five teamsbetween 1948 and '60, but Delsing (above) gained notoriety for his part in afamous stunt: On Aug. 19, 1951, he pinch-ran for Eddie Gaedel, the midget whomSt. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck sent up to bat against the Tigers. After the3'7" Gaedel (inset) walked, Delsing took his place. "A lot of peoplesay Maris hit 61," Delsing told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2001, "but I'mthe only one who ran for a midget."
By Annika Sorenstam, the cut at the Michelob Ultra Open in Williamsburg, Va.,the first time since the 2002 British Open that she sat out the final tworounds of an LPGA event. Sorenstam shot back-to-back 73s, ending her streak of68 cuts made. "It's just not something I keep track of," the world'stop-ranked player said of her cut streak. "I like to keep track ofwins."
By Italian magistrates, star goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, in a probe intoalleged game-fixing and illegal betting in the country's top soccer league.Buffon, who plays for Juventus, is the most prominent player connected to ascandal that has rocked Italian soccer. The Italian soccer federation revokedthe World Cup credential of a referee and two other officials who were to workthe tournament, and prosecutors are looking into allegations that four teamsfixed games. Despite the scandal, Buffon was named to Italy's World Cuproster.
On eBay for $7,500, a baseball card featuring Royals prospect Alex Gordon. Theprice had nothing to do with Gordon's prowess. Union rules prohibit thedistribution of cards for players with no big league experience, and Toppsmistakenly included the 23-year-old third baseman (left) in its 2006 set. Thecards were pulled from circulation, but about 100 made it to stores--mostly inthe Wichita area--setting off a buying frenzy. They began surfacing on eBaylast week; one anonymous buyer shelled out $7,500. "It's crazy," saidGordon, who is hitting .312 in Double A. "I'm in shock."
By a Durham, N.C., grand jury on Monday, Duke lacrosse player David Evans, thethird member of the team to be charged in connection with the alleged rape ofan exotic dancer at a team party on March 13. Evans, 23, a co-captain fromBethesda, Md., who graduated last week, was indicted on counts of rape, sexualoffense and kidnapping, the same charges brought against his teammates ReadeSeligmann and Collin Finnerty last month. On Monday, Evans became the firstplayer to speak publicly since the case broke. "These allegations arelies," he said. "Fabricated. And they will be proven wrong."
From Xavier University at age 72, Ray Tomlin, theschool's first African-American basketball player. The Cincinnati nativeenrolled at Xavier in 1954 and spent three seasons as a reserve guard beforeleaving school 15 credits short of his degree. After a stint in the Army he gota job as a lab technician in Cincinnati, which allowed him to remain close tothe program. A powerful speaker, Tomlin in 2004 gave the Musketeers a pep talkbefore their conference tournament and often spoke at team banquets. He decidedthat it was wrong of him to preach the importance of a degree when he didn'thave one himself, so he started taking classes on weekends. Last Saturday hereceived a bachelor's degree in liberal arts. "It's made me feel so muchbetter inside," Tomlin told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Members of the Yankees who have been named one of the Most Beautiful People byPEOPLE: Alex Rodriguez (1998, 2001, '04), Derek Jeter (1997, '99), BernieWilliams (2002) and Scott Erickson (2000), who was called up from Triple AColumbus last Saturday; Johnny Damon was one of the Sexiest Men Alive in2004.
Consecutive games played by New York outfielder Hideki Matsui (1,250 with theYomiuri Giants and 518 with the Yankees) before he left last Thursday's gameagainst Boston with a broken left wrist.
Wins by the Avalanche in its Western Conference playoff series with Anaheim,the first time in its 11-year history that Colorado was swept.
A rising star at USC is shot to death on a Mother's Dayweekend trip home
WHEN RYAN FRANCIS left Baton Rouge to play basketballat USC, where he was the starting point guard as a freshman, he talked with hismom, Paulette, on the phone every day at least once. He referred to Paulette,who planned to move to Los Angeles next year to be closer to her only child, ashis "first lady." It was just the kind of thing you'd expect from anunfailingly polite kid who was teased by his teammates for calling everyone siror ma'am. For Mother's Day, Francis, 19, returned to Baton Rouge--where he wasgunned down, apparently the unintended victim in a dispute between two otheryoung men.
Around 3:30 a.m. last Friday night, Francis was in acar with three friends when, police say, a car driven by D'Anthony NormanFord--who, according to the police report, had a history of "personaldifferences" with the driver of the car Francis was in--cut them off. Fordpulled a gun. As Francis's friend tried to drive away, Ford opened fire,hitting Francis, who was in the backseat. No one else was injured. Ford wascharged with first-degree murder.
In his season with the Trojans, Francis led the team inassists and was given the team's effort award. "You're not supposed to havefavorites when you're coaching," coach Tim Floyd told the Los AngelesTimes. "But he was one of mine. He is just going to be remembered so fondlyby all of us because he was such a passionate person about living and trying todo the right thing."
Fast as a Rumor
After being injured and touched by scandal, MarionJones returns with a strong win
IF MARION JONES has learned anything in recent years,it's that even the world's fastest woman can't outrun her problems. But lastSaturday, Jones at least found some diversion on the track. In her firstcompetition in 11 months the former Olympic gold medalist won the 100 meters atthe Gala Banamex Veracruz 2006 in Jalapa, Mexico, in 11.06 seconds. It was thesecond-fastest outdoor time this year.
The victory capped a tumultuous year for Jones, 30. Shewas sidelined last June by a hip flexor injury, and her absence did little toquell the doping suspicions that followed BALCO chief Victor Conte's allegationthat she used steroids when she won five medals at the 2000 Olympics. (Her druguse, which she denies, was also detailed in the book Game of Shadows, publishedin March.) On April 28 Tim Montgomery, her former boyfriend and the father ofher two-year-old son, was arrested for his alleged role in a bank-fraudoperation. Montgomery, who is serving a two-year doping ban, pleaded notguilty.
Jones's time, while far from her personal best (10.65seconds), was her fastest in two years--a sign, perhaps, that she's puttingBALCO and her disastrous 2004 Olympics (no medals) behind her. (Her allegeddoping is being investigated by the IOC.) Jones said she doesn't know when shewill run again but reconfirmed that she'll be in Beijing for the 2008 Games."That," she told The New York Times, "will be my lasthurrah."
ARTHUR ANDERSON/WIREIMAGE.COM (FLUTIE)
DARRYL DENNIS/ICON SMI (FRANCIS)
TROJAN HORSE Francis often guarded the opponent's top player.
COURTESY OF GREG RUST/XAVIER UNIVERSITY (TOMLIN)
XAVIER UNIVERSITY/THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER (TOMLIN PLAYING)
SAUL RAMIREZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (JONES)
COURTESY OF JEREMY TROUTMAN/AP (CARD)
HY PESKIN/TIME LIFE PICTURES/GETTY IMAGES (GAEDEL)
NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME LIBRARY, COOPERSTOWN, NY (DELSING)