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Martin catches on with Falcons again

Wide receiver Tony Martin returned to the Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday, signing with the team he helped lead to the Super Bowl in 1998.

The 35-year-old Martin spent the last two seasons with Miami and was waived in February. He worked out with the Falcons on Tuesday, taking passes from quarterback Chris Chandler.

"Just throwing the ball to him, you're reminded of what happened in '98," Chandler said. "He made a lot of us better."

The 12-year veteran was released by Atlanta after the 1999 Super Bowl because he would not postpone a $400,000 roster bonus while facing legal problems. He was acquitted of money laundering and conspiracy charges in Florida.

Martin was a deep threat who loosened up defenses and caught 66 passes for 1,181 yards and six touchdowns for the Falcons. He missed six games last season with a stress fracture in his left foot and caught 26 passes for 393 yards and no touchdowns.

BMX cyclist Mirra will appear on tour

A national touring group of acrobatic bicyclists, headed by freestyle BMX champion Dave Mirra, will appear Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Bikes, Blades and Boards Park, 3355 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda.

Mirra, a nine-time X Games gold medalist, tops the BMX Super Tour cast that also includes Ryan Nyquist, Mike Laird, Rob Darden, Dennis McCoy and Colin Mackay. They will perform and be available for autographs and photos at the free event, which will be shown later on ESPN and ESPN2.

Mirra, a 27-year-old native of Syracuse known as the "Miracle Boy," is best known for his double back flips, 360-degree spins, tail whips and other stunts that have made him the X Games' most decorated athlete.

Greene to stage protest over USA track rules

Maurice Greene won't be adding a national championship this week to his Olympic and world titles in the 100 meters.

To protest eligibility changes, Greene will run only one heat of the 100 at the USA Championships in Eugene, Ore., then drop out and mingle with fans.

The decision by Greene follows USA Track & Field's edict that anyone who wants to compete at the World Championships in Edmonton in August must compete at the nationals, even if they received a bye from the sport's world governing body.

Those byes had been granted by the International Amateur Athletic Federation to champions at the last worlds in 1999 in Seville, Spain, where Greene won both the 100 and 200.

The USATF was worried that stars with the byes would skip the national championships and hurt attendance and television ratings.

"Why have a bye if it's not going to be a bye?" Greene said. "It doesn't make any sense."

De La Hoya vows to retire if he loses

Oscar De La Hoya is giving his fans one good reason to buy Saturday's Las Vegas fight with WBC 154-pound champion Javier Castillejo. If he loses in his bid for a title in a fifth weight class, De La Hoya says it will be the last time they see him in the ring.

"A loss would mean that's it, it's over," De La Hoya said. "I would have no reason to be inside the ring anymore."

Odds makers don't figure De La Hoya's career is much at risk. He's a 9-1 favorite to beat the Spanish champion and become a titleholder once again.

Cup runneth over for 85-year-old golfer

At 85, golfer Ray Rutherford has two holes-in-one to his credit. The latest was special because he's legally blind.

Rutherford got his first hole-in-one about 20 years ago, just before he turned 65. Almost a decade ago, a blood vessel in his left eye burst, clouding his vision permanently (he lost his sight in his right eye as a youth). He can see a person 5 feet in front of him, but can't distinguish facial features.

"It's like seeing shadows," the Kansas resident said.

Last week, when he stepped to the tee at the par-3 11th hole, Rutherford could barely make out the ball at his feet and couldn't see the green or the flag 155 yards away. For help, Rutherford turned to playing partner, Leland Hopper.

"I'll help him out and tell him where the pin is, unless he's ahead of me," Hopper said.

When Rutherford hit the ball with his 5-iron, Hopper eyed it long enough to make sure it cleared the water hazard. Neither could find it after walking to the green, so Rutherford dropped another ball and played it. After making a short putt, he discovered two balls in the cup and one turned out to be the one he teed off with.

"I thought, 'Hey, a hole-in-one,' " Rutherford said.

"Yep, I saw it," Hopper said. "It was a hole-in-one."

HBO's Lampley sues firm over artificial hip

HBO boxing host Jim Lampley filed suit against the company that manufactured an artificial hip implant he says has kept him in constant pain for a year.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court includes charges of fraud and manufacturing a defective product against Sulzer Medica, a Swiss company with a U.S. subsidiary in Texas.

The 52-year-old Lampley had hip replacement surgery in June 2000. He plans to have a second surgery Tuesday to remove and replace the first implant.

Report says Stevenson admitted to sex

Utah Jazz rookie DeShawn Stevenson admitted having sex with a 14-year-old girl in a telephone conversation with her mother, according to court records.

The 20-year-old Stevenson surrendered to Fresno, Calif., police Tuesday night and was charged with statutory rape. He was released on $5,000 bail.

Stevenson, a backup guard who went directly to the NBA from high school last year, is charged along with former high school teammate DeShawn Anderson, 19. A hearing was set for July 6.

The girl's mother later confronted Stevenson in a telephone call that was recorded, the police report said, and Stevenson admitted he had sex with the woman's daughter and also admitted providing the alcohol.

In other NBA news, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders agreed to a contract extension that adds two years to his existing pact and reportedly raises the total value to $20 million over five seasons.

Injury keeps Jordan out of golf tournament

Michael Jordan withdrew from John Elway's charity golf tournament for the second straight year after cracking two ribs during a basketball workout last week.

Jordan, who is considering a comeback, was injured while playing with NBA players .

Irish greyhound board says 'down boy' to Viagra users

Ireland banned Viagra from greyhound racing after reports that it can make dogs run faster by increasing their heart rate.

The Irish greyhound racing board announced the ban, even though no dog has tested positive for the male impotence drug.

The Irish Independent newspaper quoted a racing source as saying that, Viagra was "the greatest thing since sliced pan (bread)."

Around and about

Carolyn Dorin-Ballard held a commanding 289-pin advantage over second place Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga as tonight's finalists were determined in the PWBA's Fort Worth (Texas) Classic. Cara Honeychurch, Kendra Gaines and Dede Davidson meet in tonight's opening one-game shootout with the winner facing Johnson in the semifinal match.

Michael Switalski, a former Division III All-American at Wisconsin-Whitewater, was named the new head coach for swimming and diving at Buffalo State College. A native of Greenfield, Wis., Switalski most recently served as coordinator and co-founder of the Buffalo Schools Swim Racers, an urban outreach project with 230 swimmers.

Matt Tartalo, a Rochester native who was team captain at Rochester Institute of Technology and was an assistant coach at Nazareth College, was named assistant men's soccer coach at St. Bonaventure.

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