Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Rams' Little charged with drunken driving

Previously had involuntary manslaughter conviction

The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little was charged with a felony for drunken driving and speeding Monday, five years after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter for an accident that killed a woman.

His latest arrest came early Saturday morning, after he was pulled over for speeding by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue.

A probable cause statement filed by police said Little had bloodshot and watery eyes, smelled of alcohol and failed three sobriety tests. The statement said Little admitted drinking alcoholic beverages.

Driving while intoxicated normally is a misdemeanor. However, because of Little's 1999 guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter in a drunken-driving crash prosecutors charged him as a persistent offender, making the case a felony.

He was suspended without pay for the first half of the 1999 season after he pleaded guilty.

GIANTS: With Eli Manning in town, Kerry Collins is ready to leave. Collins, who took the New York Giants to the 2001 Super Bowl, said his goodbyes Monday after five years with the team. While the quarterback wasn't officially released, Collins and the Giants said that would almost surely happen in the next few days.

On Saturday, the Giants traded North Carolina State quarterback Philip Rivers and three draft choices to the San Diego Chargers for Manning, the No. 1 overall pick. They also signed undrafted Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen (Highlands) to a free-agent deal.

Manning's salary makes it almost impossible for the team to have cap room for two highly paid QBs. Collins, 31, will earn $7 million next season but will cost $8.95 million against the salary cap. "I figured there was no reason to hang around," Collins said after turning down a request by Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi to restructure his salary.

Accorsi said there were two reasons the Giants had yet to make the release official. He hadn't discussed it with new coach Tom Coughlin and the team's owners, and there was always the possibility another team would seek to trade for Collins. But he conceded making a deal was remote because of Collins' high salary.

TITANS: Miami Hurricanes running back Jarrett Payton signed as an undrafted free agent with Tennessee. Payton, the son of late NFL Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, ran for 985 yards and seven touchdowns in his final season with the Hurricanes.

He had a big game against Florida State in the Orange Bowl, running for 131 yards in a 16-14 victory.

The 6-foot, 218-pound Payton became the starter for the Hurricanes in 2003 when Frank Gore went down for the season with a knee injury. Payton also played fullback at Miami.

TILLMAN: The body of former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Monday, a military official said.

Tillman's family didn't release what funeral home the body would be taken to, said Shari Lawrence, a spokeswoman for the Army Human Resources Command.

Tillman, who gave up his NFL career to join the Army Rangers in 2002, was killed in combat Thursday in Afghanistan.

His brother, Spc. Kevin Tillman, also a Ranger with the 2nd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, was expected to accompany the body to the funeral home.

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