St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little was found not guilty of drunken driving yesterday by a St. Louis County Circuit jury.
Jurors ruled that Little was speeding at the time of his arrest April 24 on Interstate 64 in a St. Louis suburb. He will be sentenced on that charge May 6.
The verdict ensures that Little will not be considered a persistent offender, which had been a possibility under the charges. Little pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 1999 in the death of 47-year-old Susan Gutweiler. His blood-alcohol level was nearly twice Missouri's legal limit at the time of the crash.
Little served three months in jail, completed 1,000 hours of community service and four years of probation for the earlier crime and was suspended for the first half of the 1999 season.
Little had 46 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks and recovered four fumbles last season.
Texans Release Sharper
The Houston Texans released veteran linebacker Jamie Sharper, continuing an offseason makeover of a defense that ranked in the bottom third of the NFL for the second straight season.
The former Virginia standout, entering his ninth year, had started all 48 games over the past three seasons for the Texans since coming to the club in the 2002 expansion draft. He led Houston with 137 tackles in 2004.
Broncos Sign Dayne
The Denver Broncos signed former New York Giants running back Ron Dayne, and re-signed defensive tackles Luther Ellis and Monsanto Pope.
Dayne, who won the 1999 Heisman Trophy at Wisconsin, has rushed for 2,067 yards and 16 touchdowns in six seasons. . . . .
Antowain Smith, who has rushed for more than 6,000 yards in the past eight years, agreed to a one-year contract with the New Orleans Saints.