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Bucs sign Brown for 1 year

By RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 26, 2002

TAMPA -- Lomas Brown should feel right at home on the New York state line.

The 17-year veteran became the third Bucs offensive lineman with NFL ties to the Big Apple on Thursday when he signed a one-year contract with Tampa Bay.

Brown, 39, is the third blocker to join the Bucs from New York since coach Jon Gruden arrived in February. He joins former Giants tackle Roman Oben and Jets guard Kerry Jenkins.

A career left tackle, the 6-foot-4 Brown is expected to compete with second-year starter Kenyatta Walker.

Ironically, Brown's 251 career starts are as many as the Bucs' projected starting offensive line combined.

The seven-time Pro Bowl player and former University of Florida All-American played 11 seasons with the Lions, three with Arizona, one with Cleveland and two with the Giants before being released in February.

The Bucs also signed NFL Europe kicker Rob Hart and tight end Todd Yoder, an exclusive-rights free agent, to one-year deals.

It will be the first time since Martin Gramatica's rookie season the Bucs have taken two kickers to camp.

Gramatica said he is healed from the hamstring pull that sidelined him toward the end of the 2001 season.

"I feel 100 percent," Gramatica said. "Actually, I've been 100 percent for quite a while now.

"I always tell people, I don't need somebody here to make me kick better."

Yoder will compete with Ken Dilger and Marco Battaglia for playing time at tight end, but he is valuable on special teams. Twelve of his 20 career special-teams tackles came last season.

Study links ephedrine, creatine to heatstroke

Ephedrine and creatine use among football players may be a factor in a surge of heatstroke deaths in the sport since 1995, according to an editorial published in a medical journal today.

The article appears in Neurosurgery and contends dietary supplements designed to enhance performance might have a significant impact on the body's ability to remain properly hydrated during stressful exercise in hot weather.

Doctors contend in the article that ephedrine and related compounds sold as "herbal energy" products can have serious side effects on the heart and central nervous system, while increasing the body's core temperature and decreasing its ability to cool.

Creatine, marketed as a muscle builder, can increase the likelihood of heatstroke because it has been shown to shift body water from the bloodstream into the muscle cells, the article says.

The NFL last season added ephedrine to its list of banned substances. Creatine is not on the list, however.

"Our doctors say creatine does not pose significant risks and does not need to be on the list," league spokesman Greg Aiello said. "Our people have identified ephedrine as a much more dangerous substance."

First Browns QB dies

TAMPA -- Cliff Lewis, the first quarterback of the Browns and later a Yankees executive, died Thursday. He was 79. Mr. Lewis, the Yankees vice president of insurance administration, died at his home after a lengthy illness.

In 1946, Mr. Lewis led the Browns to wins in their first three games in the All-America Football Conference. When Otto Graham became quarterback, Mr. Lewis switched to safety and returned punts and kickoffs until he retired in 1952. He joined the Yankees when George Steinbrenner bought the baseball team in 1973.

"Cliff Lewis was a great competitor and a great professional man," Steinbrenner said. "Most of all, he was a great family man and a real true friend. He has been with me in key positions for more than 30 years and he will be sorely missed by all."

Spellman arrested again

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. -- Former defensive lineman Alonzo Spellman was arrested late Tuesday night on charges of ransacking his brother's house, breaking windows and smashing pictures.

The arrest in his hometown is the latest in a string of legal and personal problems for the former Ohio State star. He was released in October by the Lions, apparently ending an NFL career that began in 1992 with the Bears, who made him their first-round draft choice.

Authorities said Spellman went to his brother John's home and tore the screen door off its hinges, beginning a 15-minute rampage. Spellman was charged with making terrorist threats, criminal mischief and hindering apprehension.

ZEIER RETIRES: Former Bucs QB Eric Zeier, who played six years in the NFL, retired at age 29.

JAGUARS: Five-time Pro Bowl selection Jimmy Smith was a holdout as the team reported to camp. He believes he's underpaid. "I'm not asking to be the top-paid receiver, but it's embarrassing," said Smith, scheduled to make $2.75-million this season.

First-round draft pick John Henderson, a defensive lineman, signed a five-year, $10-million deal with a $6.7-million signing bonus to be split over two seasons.

PACKERS: Najeh Davenport made his camp debut after becoming the team's last pick to sign. Davenport, a fullback from the University of Miami, was arrested this month in Miami on charges he broke into a woman's university dormitory room and defecated in her closet. "I want to apologize for the incident that happened in Miami," Davenport said. "It's an embarrassment to me, but also for the Green Bay Packer organization."

PANTHERS: Offensive lineman Chris Terry appeared in court on a charge of assaulting his wife and was freed on $2,500 bond. Terry was arrested when his wife, NyQuell Jackson-Terry, 29, told police he pushed her into a wall during an argument at their home in South Charlotte. Jackson-Terry was granted a temporary restraining order.

-- Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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