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NFL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 23, 2001


QB Mitchell will return to Bengals

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals didn't take a quarterback on the second day of the NFL draft because they found out they didn't need one -- Scott Mitchell is coming back.

Mitchell, who replaced Akili Smith for the last five games last season, agreed to terms on a one-year deal Sunday. The Bengals expect him to sign a contract in the next few days.

With Mitchell returning, the Bengals have four quarterbacks. Jon Kitna will compete with Smith for the starting job in training camp, and Mitchell will vie for the backup spot with Scott Covington.

General manager Mike Brown was prepared to draft a quarterback before Mitchell agreed to return. Brown likes Mitchell, who led the Bengals to two wins, threw three touchdowns along with eight interceptions, and had a 50.8 passer rating -- well below average.

"When we played with him, we were competitive and we won some, too," Brown said Sunday afternoon, sitting in his office overlooking the Ohio River. "He's a good person and an established veteran player. I'm pleased that he's coming back."

BILLS: Buffalo re-signed its all-time scoring leader, kicker Steve Christie.

Christie, who was an unrestricted free agent, will return for his 10th season with Buffalo. He was a Buccaneer in 1990-91.

Last year, the 12-year NFL veteran accounted for four of the Bills' eight victories with field goals in the final minute of regulation or in overtime.

Christie has 1,011 points for Buffalo, making him one of 18 players in league history to exceed 1,000 points with one team.

He has made 234 of 301 field-goal attempts with Buffalo, and set the Bills' season record with 140 points in 1998. He scored 109 points last year, making 26 of 35 field-goal attempts.

LIONS: Perhaps Charlie Batch can rest a little easier.

He remains Detroit's No. 1 quarterback after a week of speculation concerning his tender right knee and the possibility of Detroit drafting Purdue's Drew Brees.

The quarterback the Lions drafted -- Mike McMahon of Rutgers -- is a fifth-round pick, a young player in need of development and not a candidate to push Batch out of the starting job.

"There is no timetable on (McMahon)," coach Marty Mornhinweg said.

Mr. Irrelevant

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A 25-year-old father of four who was out of football from 1992-96 is Mr. Irrelevant, the last player drafted.

Tight end Tevita Ofehengaue of BYU is not irrelevant, though, to the Cardinals, the team that chose him and believes he has a legitimate shot at making the team.

"He was the highest tight end on our board," coach Dave McGinnis said.

As the 246th pick, Ofehengaue will go to Newport Beach, Calif., the last week of June at no charge for a series of parties, a trip to Disneyland, a pub crawl and various other side trips.

All of this was news to Ofehengaue when McGinnis called to tell him of the selection.

"I said, 'Are any of your children in the room?' " McGinnis said. "He said, 'Yes, sir, my two oldest sons are.' I said, 'Tell them they're going to Disneyland.' "

Ofehengaue told them, and there were loud cheers in the background.

Ofehengaue, though, was just happy to be drafted.

"I am excited about this whole Mr. Irrelevant thing, but I am more excited to get the chance to go there and play," he said.

The Hawaiian-born Ofehengaue, whose children are 1, 3, 7 and 9 years old, was married in 1991 and had no intention of playing football. He worked for American Airlines in Dallas when a friend who played tight end at BYU asked him if he'd ever thought about going back to school.

Ofehengaue (Tuh-VEE-tuh Oh-fen-GOW-wee) left BYU with 62 receptions for 853 yards and four touchdowns.

Late Saturday

L.A. 38, SAN FRANCISCO 6: Former NFL backup Tommy Maddox threw two touchdowns and Jose Cortez, a roofer from Oregon, kicked four field goals as the host Xtreme won the XFL's inaugural title.

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