Not guilty to a criminal charge of handgun possession, Plaxico Burress (above). The Giants wide receiver accidentally shot himself in the leg in a New York nightclub early last Saturday morning, 36 hours before New York played Washington (page 68). Burress, 31, who was not seriously injured, surrendered on Monday. Bail was set at $100,000, and Burress was ordered to return to court on March 31. He was led from the police station in handcuffs in front of a crowd, some of whom were in Giants jerseys. Police said they were also investigating teammate Antonio Pierce, the linebacker and Giants defensive captain who was with him and in whose car Burress's .40-caliber Glock was reportedly found. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg called for Burress, who was not licensed to carry a gun, to be prosecuted under a law calling for mandatory prison time for carrying a weapon without a permit. "I don't think anybody should be exempt from that, and I think it would be an outrage if we didn't prosecute to the fullest extent of the law," he said. The NFL and the Giants have not yet announced what action they will take.
To sign with the Red Sox, 22-year-old Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa (right). The hard-throwing righty, who was 10--1 with a 1.02 ERA in Japan's corporate leagues as an amateur, picked Boston early in the week, according to The Boston Globe. Four teams reportedly offered Tazawa a deal, which broke a long-standing gentleman's agreement keeping Japanese amateurs off-limits to major league teams.
As football coach at Mississippi State, Sylvester Croom. The SEC's first black head coach was 21--38 in five seasons with the Bulldogs. After three losing seasons Croom led State to an 8--5 record and a win in the Liberty Bowl in 2007. But following a 4--8 season, capped off by a 45--0 loss to Ole Miss, Croom offered to resign. "It's sad, but it doesn't surprise me," Mississippi coach Houston Nutt said. Speaking of the win-or-be-gone mentality, he added, "It's the way of the world in college football right now." Croom's departure drops the number of Division I-A black head coaches to three.
By two New York City Council members, that the Mets new Citi Field be renamed Citi/Taxpayer Field. Citigroup agreed to pay $400 million over the next 20 years for naming rights to the stadium, which opens in April. But now that the bank is struggling and receiving billions of dollars in aid from the government, Staten Island Republicans Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo said that since the taxpayers are helping foot the bill, they should be recognized. Neither the Mets nor Citigroup, which earlier said it will not alter the naming rights agreement, has commented.
By three members of the North Carolina basketball team, a passenger on their commercial flight who suffered a seizure. The top-ranked Tar Heels were returning from the Maui Classic when 45-year-old Melvin Ridley was discovered unconscious in his seat before the plane took off. A flight attendant asked for help, and players Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson and video coordinator Eric Hoots carried him to the galley, where he was treated by paramedics. "It was a scary situation," said North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams, "but I was proud to see how our guys responded."
Of a stroke at age 82, Armand (Bep) Guidolin, who in 1942 became the youngest player in NHL history. Guidolin made his debut for the Bruins when he was 27 days short of his 17th birthday. He had a nine-year career with three teams and scored 107 goals. After his playing days he coached the Bruins to the 1974 Stanley Cup finals.
They Said It
Coach of the 2--10 Chiefs, on whether he's a candidate for the job at San Diego State: "I've got a college team right now."
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
Bengals receiver Chad Johnson was at a Cincinnati-area Best Buy at 5:25 a.m. on Black Friday to buy Rock Band 2.
DAVID E. KLUTHO (EDWARDS)
MICHAEL E. KEATING/THE ENQUIRER (JOHNSON)
SAM YEH/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (TAZAWA)
DAVID KARP/AP (BURRESS)