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Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Key vote for new Jets stadium delayed

ESPN.com news services

New York Jets: A key vote on the proposal to build a Manhattan stadium for the Jets and for potential use in the 2012 Olympics is now scheduled for May 25.

The state Public Authorities Control Board was to have voted on the proposal Wednesday, but postponed the vote 18 hours before when legislative leaders made it clear they weren't ready to commit $300 million to the project. New York City officials will attend the next meeting, Gov. George Pataki said.

"There has been a request of further disclosure and discussion," said board chairman John Cape, who is Pataki's budget director. He said there will be additional briefings with the representatives of Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

Silver wants to know more about the project, said his spokesman, Charles Carrier. Silver is also worried the project might compete for funds with downtown, part of his district, which is slowly recovering from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The delay "doesn't help the bid, but it doesn't imperil it," Pataki said. "The stadium is still a cornerstone for the Olympic bid and I continue to believe it's going to happen."

Miami Dolphins: Wide receiver David Boston, the former Pro Bowl performer whose career has been waylaid the past three seasons by injuries and off-field issues, has rejoined the Miami Dolphins, the team that released him two months ago.

Boston, 26, signed a one-year contract in an effort to resuscitate his flagging career. Financial details were not yet available.

At one point in the offseason, it appeared Boston might sign with San Francisco, but 49ers first-year coach Mike Nolan decided to stick with the team's young receivers.

The Dolphins acquired Boston in a trade with San Diego last spring but he tore the patella tendon of his left knee during a joint training camp practice with the Houston Texans, and missed the entire season. The injury was the latest in a string of physical setbacks that have limited Boston to only 22 games the last three seasons. Boston is reportedly close to being fully rehabilitated from the knee injury.

In addition to the spate of injuries, Boston has experienced problems off the field as well, including a four-game suspension last December for a violation of the league's steroid policy, a misstep that cost him $1.35 million in base salary. In October, he was charged with assault for allegedly punching a ticket agent at the Burlington, Vt., airport. During his one season with the Chargers, in 2003, Boston was suspended by head coach Marty Schottenheimer for an altercation with the team's strength and conditioning coach.

Boston has 311 catches for 4,619 yards and 25 touchdowns in 70 games. In 2000-2001, he combined for 169 receptions, 2,754 yards and 15 touchdowns, and was regarded as one of the NFL's premier wideouts. Since then, however, the former Ohio State star and 1999 first-rounder has had a tumultuous stretch.

-- ESPN.com senior NFL writer Len Pasquarelli

Arizona Cardinals: With the trade market for L.J. Shelton apparently nonexistent, the Cardinals released the former first-round offensive tackle, a six-year veteran who fell out of favor with coach Dennis Green early last season.

Shelton, 29, was the subject of several trade rumors over the past two months, including one that had him headed to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for tailback Travis Henry. But none of those deals worked out and, apparently convinced they would not stir up any interest in a player other teams knew they would eventually jettison, the Cardinals chose to release Shelton.

As a free agent, Shelton, whose resume includes 77 starts, figures to generate some interest. There are still some teams in the league who might view the former Eastern Michigan star as a potential starter and certainly, having played both tackle positions, he could be a No. 3 tackle for just about any franchise in the league.

The release of Shelton means the Cardinals have now cut the two high-round tackles who, not all that long ago, were viewed as the team's standout young bookends at the position. Anthony Clement was released a month ago and quickly signed with the Denver Broncos.

The Cardinals also released tight end Lorenzo Diamond, who joined the club as an undrafted free agent in 2003.

-- L.P.

New England Patriots: Otis Smith, who played in two Super Bowls with the Patriots and was part of New England's first NFL championship, has retired.

The 13-year veteran cornerback signed a one-day contract with the Patriots earlier this week, and the team placed him on the reserve/retired list, allowing him to retire as a Patriot.

Smith, who found his way into the NFL as an undrafted free agent, retired with 29 career interceptions, seven touchdowns and 525 tackles in 180 career games.

"I wanted to retire as a Patriot because the greatest success of my career came in a Patriots uniform," Smith, 39, said in a statement released by the team. "The thing that I really liked about playing in New England is that the fans always appreciated my talents and what I brought to the table, win or lose. They appreciated the effort more than the actual winning itself."

-- Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys: Linebacker Kevin Burnett, the club's second-round draft choice and the 42nd player selected overall last month, has undergone hip surgery. The former University of Tennessee standout will miss next week's minicamp sessions, but Cowboys officials expect him to be recovered in time for the start of training camp.

Burnett tore the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee in 2002, but his injury history does not include any previous hip problems. He participated in all the on-field workouts at the team's first minicamp of the spring.

With the Cowboys transitioning to a 3-4 front for this season, Burnett was expected to vie for considerable playing time, and to possibly challenge for the starting job at stongside linebacker. A two-year starter for the Volunteers, he finished his college career with 274 tackles and eight sacks.

In an off-field matter, the Cowboys did not renew the contract of Bryan Broaddus, the club's assistant director of pro scouting.

-- L.P.

New Orleans Saints: The agent for Saints cornerback Fakhir Brown has acknowledged that his client's absence from workouts this week is contract related. Ted Marchibroda Jr., who represents the five-year veteran corner, said Brown is seeking an upgraded contract and will not participate in the Saints offseason program until a new deal is in place.

The current workouts, which conclude in early July, are voluntary, but players are urged to participate. Brown cannot be fined for his absences.

Brown, 27, is in the final year of his contract and scheduled for a base salary of $540,000, the NFL minimum for a player of his tenure. When he signed a two-year contract last year, however, Brown was a reserve, principally a nickel or dime defender. But he played his way into the starting lineup in 2004, is scheduled to go to camp as a starter, and now wants a contract that reflects that status.

In the first four seasons of his career, Brown, who most viewed as a journeyman, totaled only 11 starts. But he had 11 starts in 2004 and finished the most productive season of his career with 54 tackles, two interceptions and 12 passes defensed.

-- L.P.

Poole party: The Saints signed wide receiver Nate Poole to a two-year contract.

Poole, entering his fourth season, has played his entire pro career with the Arizona Cardinals, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2002.

He has 31 career receptions for 355 yards and two touchdowns. When he became a restricted free agent in 2005, the Cardinals decided not to offer him a new contract.

Last season, Poole played in nine contests with one start and had five receptions for 70 yards.

In college, Poole played at Marshall, where he had 215 receptions for 2,840 yards.

-- AP

Tennessee Titans: Defensive end Travis LaBoy, who is being counted on to challenge for a starting job in his second NFL season, has undergone surgery for a sports hernia and will be sidelined until just before the start of training camp. A second-round choice in the '04 draft, LaBoy battled through a concussion and hamstring injury as a rookie.

The former University of Hawaii standout appeared in 13 games in 2004, and started in two of them, and recorded 34 tackles and 3 sacks. The Titans medical staff decided to repair the hernia now, rather than have the problem linger into the season.

Said coach Jeff Fisher: "It could have become a nuisance during the season. It was something the doctors felt should be corrected now, so he can be ready for camp."

Rookie tight end Bo Scaife of Texas, a sixth-round pick, had similar surgery and is also expected to be recovered in time for the start of camp.

-- L.P.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.