LAMOTTA'S SON DIES IN SWISSAIR CRASH: Former middleweight champion Jake LaMotta lost his second son this year, among the 229 people who died Wednesday night in the Swissair crash off Nova Scotia, the New York Post reported Friday.
Joe LaMotta, 49, president of LaMotta Foods Inc., was headed to Geneva to promote the family business' new line of LaMotta Tomatta Sauce. His brother, Jake Jr., died at age 51 in February of cancer.
"My only two sons died in the same year," Jake LaMotta told the Post. "What is God trying to tell me?"
RODEO BACKS OUT: Plans to bring the College National Finals Rodeo back to Bozeman next June died Thursday because Montana State University officials refused to allow free chewing tobacco to be handed out on campus.
BUCKEYES DECLARED ELIGIBLE: All-American linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer and two other starters for top-ranked Ohio State were declared academically eligible on Thursday, two days before the season opener.
Katzenmoyer, guard Rob Murphy and strong safety Damon Moore had to pass summer school classes to gain their eligibility.
OREGON COACH SIGNS: University of Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti agreed to a new four-year contract that will make him the highest-paid coach in school history.
Bellotti has led the Ducks to a 22-13 record and two bowl appearances in his three seasons. The 22 wins are the most by any coach in his first three years at the university.
Oregon went 7-5 record last season and posted a 41-13 victory over 23rd-ranked Air Force in the Las Vegas Bowl.
The contract will pay Bellotti a base salary of $150,000 a year and could reach as much as $470,000 annually.
KANELL SIGNS NEW PACT: Danny Kanell of the New York Giants is no longer the lowest-paid starting quarterback in the NFL.
Kanell, who was to make the league minimum of $216,000 in the final year of his original three-year contract, signed a new contract Thursday reportedly worth $10 million.
The quarterback will receive a hefty signing bonus in addition to his $216,000 salary this year. He also got a two-year extension, keeping him under contract through 2000.
COLTS RELEASE GRAY: The Indianapolis Colts waived six-year veteran cornerback Carlton Gray after practice Thursday, a day after he was quoted by a newspaper criticizing Colts management.
"I got released," Gray said in the locker room, displaying the letter from the team that released him from his four-year, $9.7 million contract. "I'm gone. I'm a free agent."
Colts president Bill Polian told The Associated Press that Gray was waived because he just wasn't performing.
Gray, signed as a free agent from Seattle prior to the 1997 season, lost the starting right corner position to Tyrone Poole this week. The Colts acquired Poole from the Carolina Panthers in July. After the trade, Poole was signed to a five-year extension that could be worth up to $20 million.
In a story published in Wednesday's editions of The Indianapolis Star, Gray was critical of the Colts organization.