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August 24, 2002
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Bucs
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[L-R: Times photo: Toni L. Sandys; AP]
Gary Shelton
Gruden vs. Spurrier: Let the comparisons begin
If your lights flicker around 7:45 tonight, do not be alarmed.

Spurrier's homecoming may not be very happy
TAMPA -- Steve Spurrier has a pretty good history of running up the score in homecoming games.

Memories of past playoff game mixed
For Shaun King, the win over the Redskins was the greatest of his career. For Brad Johnson, it was a bitter ending to a great season.

Pittman's ankle a concern
TAMPA -- Running back Michael Pittman, who sprained his right ankle on the opening day of training camp and re-aggravated it Aug. 16 against the Jaguars, likely won't play tonight against the Redskins.

Here's the inside take on roster
TAMPA -- Imagine memorizing a playbook as thick as Webster's dictionary, sweating through the offseason program, two-a-days in training camp, hunkering down in a five-star hotel for three weeks and getting fleeced for the dinner tab on Camaraderie Night.

Rays
Rays have usual lapses, but hang on in the ninth
RAYS 8, WHITE SOX 2: Tanyon Sturtze, close to being sent to the bullpen, pitches a complete game.

Labor issues have added importance
CHICAGO -- A week before the union deadline for what would be baseball's ninth work stoppage, there is just as much talk in the Rays clubhouse about the possible strike as there is about balls and strikes.

College football
Pope's direction back on course
The FSU linebacker is better than ever after surgery on his shoulder.

UGA player acquitted
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia football player Brandon Williams was acquitted Friday by a Superior Court jury in the alleged sexual assault of a female student in another athlete's dorm room.

South Florida accepts receiver DiShon Platt
TAMPA -- DiShon Platt is headed for South Florida. Directly.

Catch puts WR in hospital
Southern Mississippi receiver Rocky Harrison, a former standout at Tampa Catholic, is out indefinitely after a freak injury sustained during an intra-squad scrimmage Aug. 14.

Baseball
Cansecos turn down plea
MIAMI -- Former American League MVP Jose Canseco and twin brother Ozzie declined a plea offer Friday, choosing to go to trial on charges from a nightclub scuffle on Halloween.

Rangers power past Yankees
NEW YORK -- Rafael Palmeiro hit two of Texas' four homers off Mike Mussina, leading Chan Ho Park and the Rangers over the Yankees 6-2 Friday night.

A-Rod is willing to cut his salary to help negotiations
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez offered to slash his record-setting salary if it would help baseball, a novel approach to solving the sport's problems as it moved within a week of another strike.

Kim strikeout of Sosa gives D'backs win
PHOENIX -- Byung-Hyun Kim struck out Sammy Sosa with runners on second and third to end the game, and the Diamondbacks beat the Cubs 3-2 Friday night.

Trade, hitters can't make ex-Eagles ace back down
Ryan Snare's determination and curveball make him one of the top pitching prospects in the minor leagues.

Golf
NEC course-record 63 puts Allenby in co-lead
SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- Robert Allenby had few complaints about his game the past few weeks, only his scores.

NFL
Around the NFC
BEARS: Receiver Marty Booker left the game in the first quarter Friday with a chest contusion and Nate Jacquet left after spraining his ankle on a punt return.

Around the AFC
BENGALS: Coach Dick LeBeau wants one more look at quarterbacks Jon Kitna, Gus Frerotte and Akili Smith before announcing his regular-season starter. "

NFL noebook
Ex-Packer Simmons dies in a car crash

Motorsports
Winless Gordon knocks Earnhardt off pole
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Jeff Gordon, winless in 31 straight races, took the first step toward ending his drought Friday by winning the pole for the Sharpie 500.

More sparks may fly at Bristol
Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer have given NASCAR one of its liveliest feuds in years.

Et cetera
College notebook
Bulls LHP returns to Stanford

In brief
Ranger contracts approved by NHL

Final loss doesn't sum up season
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- There was disappointment Friday, that was for sure.

Preps
10 Pressing Questions
The high school football season begins in less than two weeks. Leading up to preseason games, the Times will answer 10 pressing questions facing Pinellas schools.

Outdoors
Daily fishing report
The warm August waters have kept bigger grouper farther offshore. The occasional keeper gags are flighty and hard to get in spear-gun sights.

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