The NFL made another attempt yesterday to block the court ruling allowing Maurice Clarett into April's draft.
The league asked the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York for a stay of US District Judge Shira Scheindlin's ruling earlier this month, citing "potentially tragic consequences" if it remains intact.
The stay would block Clarett -- and presumably USC wide receiver Mike Williams -- from entering the draft while the appeals court considers whether Scheindlin's ruling should be overturned.
Clarett's lawyer, Alan C. Milstein, said the likelihood that the appeals court would block the ruling was "so remote as to be next to impossible."
"We'll win at this level. We'll win at the Second Circuit. If they go to the Supreme Court, we'll win there," he said. "We are prepared to win at every level we have to win until this is over."
Clarett announced his intention to enter the draft after Scheindlin tossed out a league rule that a player must be out of high school three years for draft eligibility. She said the rule violated antitrust law.
The NFL then extended until this Monday the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the April draft. Williams, a wide receiver, is the only other player who so far has decided to enter the draft.
Williams is a sophomore, two years out of high school.
Terrell Owens believes the NFL and the San Francisco 49ers are responsible for his contract predicament -- not his agent. Owens, a four-time Pro Bowl receiver, is still under contract to the 49ers after his agent missed the NFL deadline for notifying the team of his intention to void the final three years of his deal. Owens and agent David Joseph claim they weren't told that the deadline had been moved up 10 days to Feb. 21. "I can assure you that neither my agent nor myself made a mistake like this," Owens told Sporting News Radio. "For people to go out and say my agent made a mistake is utterly ridiculous and insane." Owens said neither he nor his agent ever received notification of the advanced deadline. Joseph has filed a grievance with the NFL Management Council through the players' union, but a hearing hasn't been scheduled . . . Warren Sapp, Tampa Bay's seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle is set to become a free agent for the first time next week, but isn't eager to change teams. "If it's my choice, I'd keep laying bricks right here in Rome. Rome wasn't built in a day, but it was torn down in 20 minutes," Sapp said with a laugh.
The Indianapolis Colts released five players to get under the NFL salary cap and help offset an $18.4 million obligation to Peyton Manning as their designated franchise player next season. If the Colts agree to a long-term deal with Manning before March 17, they can remove the tag and still have room under the $80.5 million cap to sign other players. Without the franchise tag, Manning would have become a free agent Wednesday. Released were offensive tackle Adam Meadows, defensive end Chad Bratzke, quarterback Brock Huard, running back Detron Smith and cornerback Walt Harris. The move freed up about $17.3 million in salary . . . Longtime starters Dewayne Washington and Mark Breuner were released by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team also re-signed kicker Jeff Reed to a one-year contract worth $380,000 . . . The Seattle Seahawks waived defensive tackle Chad Eaton. The eight-year veteran and former Patriot was due to receive $2.4 million next season . . . Denver Pro Bowl running back Clinton Portis said a trade to Washington would be "a great opportunity," though he's still not sure the deal -- which would send Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey to Denver -- will happen.