Chargers head coach Riley denies he is headed to USC
Updated: Wednesday December 06, 2000 9:56 PM
SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- San Diego Chargers head coach Mike Riley denied a published report that he was on the verge of leaving the NFL and accepting the coaching vacancy at Southern California.
The Long Beach-Press Telegram reported Tuesday that USC will offer its coaching position to Riley and that he is expected to accept.
"I have not been contacted. I'm just concentrating on doing my job here," Riley said today.
Chargers spokesman Bill Johnston added that the team would deny permission to talk to Riley, who is under contract for the next three seasons.
San Diego is just 1-12, but the team announced that Riley would be back next season after speculation arose that he declined the job at Alabama.
Riley is believed to be among USC's top two choices from the beginning of its search to replace fired head coach Paul Hackett. Oregon State head coach Dennis Erickson also was a top candidate, but Erickson signed a new contract with the Beavers on Saturday.
USC also spoke with Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti, who decided to remain with the Ducks.
Before joining the Chargers, Riley spent two years as head coach at Oregon State, recruiting many of the players on this year's 10-1 team that will play Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. His 1998 squad went 5-6, the Beavers' best record in 27 years.
He was also a head coach in the Canadian Football League, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1987-90), where he won two Grey Cup titles. Riley coached the San Antonio Riders of the World League in 1991 and 1992.
Witness says she arranged drug deals for ex-NFL player
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- A woman who said former pro football player Sherman Williams was her boyfriend testified that he had her arrange numerous large marijuana transactions during a period of about 18 months.
Williams, 27, a former running back for the Dallas Cowboys and earlier for the University of Alabama, went on trial Monday on charges of trafficking and conspiracy in connection with what prosecutors say was up to 1,000 pounds of marijuana.
On Tuesday, Demetric Beans of Dallas, who described herself as an exotic entertainer, testified in federal court that in 1998, Williams asked if she knew where he could buy marijuana. She said she agreed to help Williams find marijuana suppliers.
Under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Griffin, Beans said marijuana deals were made at her residence many times and that Williams made buys from suppliers in amounts ranging from 50 to 100 pounds.
Beans, who has pleaded guilty to drug charges and agreed to testify against Williams, told the jury, "I didn't make any money off of any of it."
Other prosecution witnesses also implicated Williams before the government rested its case.
Demetrius Thomas, 24, testified Tuesday that he made five trips from Mobile to the Dallas area to obtain marijuana ranging in amounts from 50 to 100 pounds for Williams.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Robert F. Clark, Thomas admitted he was later ordered detained by a U.S. magistrate after he lied to an FBI agent in the case. Thomas said he entered a plea agreement with the prosecution in hopes of getting a lighter sentence.
Roderick Ward testified that he made three separate trips from Mobile to Texas and back to buy marijuana for Williams in the amount of 10 pounds each.
Under cross-examination by Clark, Ward admitted that he expected to get a recommendation from the prosecution for a substantial reduction of his sentence. He also admitted that he had earlier lied to an FBI agent in the case.
Rodney Patrick, a Mobile police officer attached to the Mobile County Street Enforcement Narcotics Team, testified that Williams fled after drug officers went to arrest him after an April 21 surveillance detail following a drug transaction.
There also was testimony from Drug Enforcement Administration fingerprint specialist Greg Soltis that fingerprints found on plastic bags of marijuana belonged to Williams.
Ross becomes Eagles director of college scouting
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Marc Ross, former Princeton wide receiver and eastern regional scout for the Philadelphia Eagles, was appointed Tuesday as the Philadelphia Eagles' director of college scouting.
Ross, 27, replaces John Goeller, who died Nov. 19 of a heart attack.
During his playing career at Princeton, Ross was All-Ivy League wide receiver in 1993 and 1994. The Sharon Hill native earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Princeton in 1995 and a master's degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1997.
He was a player personnel department intern with the Eagles during their 1996 training camp, and has served as eastern regional scout since 1997.
Dolphins' Shepherd has knee surgery
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Miami's Leslie Shepherd, the team's second-leading receiver, may miss Sunday's game against Tampa Bay after having knee surgery.
Shepherd had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. Team officials said Shepherd will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis, but is unlikely to play against the Buccaneers.
Thrust into a starting role early in the season when Tony Martin suffered a sprained foot, Shepherd has been a pleasant surprise for the Dolphins. He has 35 catches for 446 yards and four touchdowns.
He had three receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown Sunday against Buffalo.
Second-lowest rating ever for MNF
NEW YORK (AP) -- Monday Night Football received its second-lowest rating in its 31 seasons on ABC.
New England's 30-24 victory against Kansas City -- a game between teams out of playoff contention -- drew a 9.9 national rating and 16 share.
Only a 1986 game between the Redskins and Giants drew a lower rating, an 8.8. That game was played opposite Game 7 of the World Series between the Red Sox and Mets, which had been rained out the previous night.
For the season, Monday Night Football is averaging a 12.7 rating and 22 share. That's down 8 percent from last year to date.
The program's season-ending rating has declined for five straight years, prompting an overhaul of the cast.
ABC hired Dennis Miller for this season in an effort to draw viewers and keep them tuned in even during blowouts.
Each rating point represents a little more than 1 million television households. Share is the percentage of in-use TVs tuned to a program.
Saints injuries spread to other running backs
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Oh, my aching backs.
New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett's lament over injuries to both the offensive and defensive backfields got louder this week. Now he's added his nose to the injury list.
The Saints injury list that started with two starters gone before the season began, grew by three starters -- running back, corner back and quarterback -- in the three games before Denver. Now there may be three more starters -- two running backs and the nose tackle -- on it for the San Francisco 49ers game Sunday.
"We're going to have to see how it goes until the end of the week with all of them," Haslett said. "But they're all pretty doubtful right now."
Chad Morton and Jerald Moore, the running backs that stepped up so smoothly when Ricky Williams went out with a broken ankle three weeks ago, were both banged up going into the Broncos' game. They were worse before the game was over.
Morton has a shoulder separation, it got so bad in the Denver game he could not raise his arm to signal a fair catch on returns.
Jerald Moore had nerve damage in his neck and shoulder. That is also worse.
The Saints have coped with injuries all season and continued their surprising surge in the NFC West standings.
The Saints (8-5) have lost two of their last three games, but New Orleans remains in the hunt for a post season berth.
After traveling to San Francisco on Sunday, the Saints host Atlanta (3-11) and close out the season on Christmas Eve in the Superdome against the St. Louis Rams (8-5).
New Orleans and the Rams are tied for the lead in the division.
Falcons LB Tuggle has arthroscopic surgery
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- Atlanta Falcons linebacker Jessie Tuggle, who suffered the first significant injury of his 14-year career in October, had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday.
The surgery at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta was successful, the team said.
Tuggle's season ended Oct. 22 when he tore his medial collateral ligament and suffered a light tear of the medial meniscus during the first half of a game against New Orleans.
Tuggle, who missed only three games because of injury or illness in his first 13 seasons, has 1,837 career tackles, including 12 consecutive years with more than 100.
Before the season, he signed a four-year, $12 million contract that would allow him to finish his career with the Falcons.
Also Tuesday, the Falcons said wide receiver Jammi German is expected to miss the last two games of the season with a sprained ankle.
German suffered a high ankle sprain in the first quarter of Sunday's game against Seattle. He injured the same ankle during the preseason and missed the first several weeks of the year.
Hall of Fame interested in Anderson's jersey
DENVER (AP) -- It may be too early to say whether Mike Anderson is headed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the rookie running back's jersey may be.
Anderson's record-breaking performance in the Denver Broncos' 38-23 win against the New Orleans Saints Sunday is the reason.
Joe Horrigan, vice president for communications/exhibits at the Hall of Fame called the Broncos Monday looking for donation of the game jersey.
"It seems like we've added quite a few things from the Denver Broncos the last few years," Horrigan said. "This is another major milestone."
Anderson rushed for 251 yards Sunday to break the single-game rookie record set by Cincinnati's Corey Dillon, who rushed for 246 yards in 1997. It was the third time this season Anderson has broken Denver's single-game rookie rushing record.
Anderson, 26, was a sixth-round draft pick. He would join the following Broncos with mementos on display at the Hall of Fame:
Jaguars' Nickerson, Marts on injured reserve
The Jaguars signed Nickerson to a four-year, $16 million deal in the offseason, hoping he would be the component that would put them over the top in their quest for the Super Bowl. He played only six games and made 75 tackles. But he went arthroscopic surgery on his Nickerson on his left knee last month.
Marts has had a groin injury and hasn't played since October 22. He was expected to return last weekend, but reinjured the groin in practice.
Jacksonville stands at 6-7 and was officially eliminated from the playoffs Monday night when New England defeated Kansas City.