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Bucs free to use pirate logo after Raiders suit is tossed

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 22, 2003

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A state judge Monday dismissed a suit by the Oakland Raiders seeking to prevent the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers from wearing their uniforms for games in California because they allegedly violate the Raiders' trademark rights.

A Santa Clara County judge did not rule on the merits of the case but said it belonged in federal court. Raiders officials said Monday they were exploring their legal options.

The Raiders claimed Tampa Bay's pirate logo is too similar to that of Oakland's. The Raiders objected to the Panthers uniforms because two colors, silver and black, match those of their team.

Papers the Raiders filed in the San Jose case say the Buccaneers' logo "is likely to dilute the distinctive quality of the Raiders' mark, thereby lessening its capacity to identify the Raiders, and causing irreparable harm that cannot adequately be compensated by an award of damages."

PLAYER RECOVERING: Top draft prospect Dennis Weathersby is expected to make a complete recovery after he was shot in the back Sunday in suspected gang-related violence.

The former Oregon State cornerback was in stable condition and was expected to be released from a Duarte, Calif., hospital no later than Wednesday, agent Gary Uberstine said. No surgery was required.

Weathersby, 22, has no history of legal problems or gang affiliation, Uberstine said.

BILLS: Running back Olandis Gary is leaving a crowded backfield in Denver, agreeing to terms on a contract with Buffalo. Terms were not disclosed. Gary, 27, is expected to back up Travis Henry after spending last season behind Clinton Portis.

BROWNS: Cleveland is running out of time, and maybe patience, with free-agent linebacker Jamir Miller.

Miller, who missed last season with a torn Achilles' tendon, is considering incentive-based contract offers from Cleveland and the Ravens but hasn't decided which team to sign with. If he doesn't make up his mind before the draft, Cleveland appears willing to move on with or without its only Pro Bowl player since 1999.

FALCONS: Michael Vick reported for Atlanta's voluntary offseason conditioning program after missing three weeks.

"What I think everybody should understand is that I have a family now," Vick said. "Everybody has to know that. I have a son that I have to spend quality time with. I have a family I have to deal with."

LIONS: Defensive tackle Shaun Rogers is available, but team president Matt Millen has not received an offer that would tempt him to make a deal.

Considering the extensive defensive line talent available in the draft, Millen said he wasn't optimistic about getting one. "That's why I think they offer what they offer," Millen said.

The Detroit Free Press reported that the Jets were one of two teams that contacted Detroit about Rogers. Neither would give up anything above a third-round pick.

STEELERS: Running back Jerome Bettis, 31, and tight end Mark Bruener, 30, may learn as early as Saturday if they have a future with Pittsburgh. Coach Bill Cowher said the team hasn't decided if either player still fits into its plans, and the draft could determine that. Injuries, age and the club's shifting emphasis from run to pass could make both players expendable.

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