National Sports Briefs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 4, 2007

Associated Press

GURNEE, Ill. — Police seized about 550 rounds of ammunition from the home of Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson during a raid last month, according to new court documents.

The ammunition was discovered in Johnson’s kitchen, basement, garage and bedroom.

Police also found six guns, marijuana and unlabeled pills believed to be the prescription painkiller hydrocodone, the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reported, citing search warrant documents filed Friday in Lake County Circuit Court.

Johnson was charged with six counts of possession of a firearm without a gun-owner identification card. Authorities said they found a semiautomatic rifle with 19 live rounds in the master bedroom, four unloaded weapons — two rifles and two handguns — and a loaded .45-caliber handgun under a leather chair in the basement.

Johnson’s bodyguard, Willie B. Posey, was arrested on felony drug charges after the raid; Posey was shot and killed two days later during an early morning fight at a nightclub in Chicago.

Johnson lived with his girlfriend, Posey and two young children.

It was the third arrest in 18 months for Johnson, who must stay at home except to go to work and needs permission to leave Illinois until a court decides whether he violated his probation on a 2005 gun charge.

Johnson publicly apologized and received a one-game suspension.

Police in Gurnee, about 40 miles northwest of Chicago, began an investigation six weeks before the raid after neighbors complained about three caged pit bulls on the property and said they heard gunshots from Johnson’s back yard.

During the raid, police said they discovered a “business-type card” inside a gym bag that listed the telephone numbers of Bears coach Lovie Smith and team security chief Tom Dillon.

“On the reverse side of the card is listed warnings about the legal limit for DUI and possessing a firearm without a valid (identification),” according to court documents.

* PITTSBURGH — Dick Hoak took handoffs from Bobby Layne, broke in Franco Harris as a rookie assistant coach and mentored Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker.

Few other NFL assistants have seen or done as much. Or won as much.

Hoak ended an unprecedented 45 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers by retiring as running backs coach, completing the longest continuous tenure by an NFL assistant coach with any team.

The 67-year-old Hoak played a role in every title and playoff victory in the franchise’s 74-season history and was with them for 742 of their 1,057 all-time games.

Chuck Noll (23 seasons) and Bill Cowher (15 seasons) are the only head coaches the Steelers have had since 1969, and Hoak was involved in all but one of those seasons. Hoak won the first of his five Super Bowl rings in 1974 and got the last only last season.


ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions fired defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson and offensive line coach Larry Beightol, two days after finishing a 3-13 season.

Beightol is a Catawb


RALEIGH — Duke University has extended an invitation to two lacrosse players charged with sexually assaulting a stripper at a team party to return to the classroom and the playing field — but will they accept it?

For now, they aren’t saying.As the case against the players appears to be falling apart, Duke officials said Wednesday the school had asked Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann to return for spring semester starting next week. They would be eligible to rejoin their friends on Duke’s lacrosse team — although their lawyers said they were still making up their minds about whether to return.

“We feel that this is a very important moment,” said Finnerty’s lawyer Wade Smith. “This announcement speaks to Duke’s integrity as an institution, to its mission, and to its belief in Collin Finnerty’s innocence.”


MIAMI — Pat Riley is taking a break from a season that has left him limping and in pain.

The Miami Heat coach began an indefinite leave of absence Wednesday because of hip and knee problems, choosing assistant Ron Rothstein to fill his spot on an interim basis.

Riley will have surgery Friday to remove floating chips his right knee. Surgery on his hip, the malady that hurts him most now, is not yet scheduled. The 61-year-old coach doesn’t know how long he’ll be out.


PHOENIX — Former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson was charged Wednesday with drug possession and driving under the influence of drugs, and the Maricopa County prosecutor says he wants to send him to prison.

“He has run out of second chances, at least in my book,” attorney Andrew Thomas said in a news conference.

Tyson, 40, was charged with two felonies for drug possession and two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of drugs. If convicted of all four charges, he could be sentenced to between two and seven years.


CHICAGO — Illinois-Chicago coach Jimmy Collins was admitted to the hospital Wednesday after tests showed he had suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm, university officials said.